Sony in advanced talks to pick up Ledger film

Heath Ledger’s final film has finally found a Stateside buyer.

Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions Group is in advanced talks to pick up “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus,” with plans for it to go out theatrically, likely this year, via Sony Pictures Classics.

Pic is expected to be a lucrative homevideo title due to the Ledger angle and the other star power. Terry Gilliam’s adventure also features Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell, who replaced Ledger in various fantasy scenes after the thesp died during the film’s production in January 2008.

“Parnassus” was officially unveiled at Cannes this year in an out-of-competition slot toward the end of the festival. Several buyers screened the film just before Cannes, but a deal didn’t immediately emerge.

Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions Group has been a key player in a number of pic deals lately, including for “The Young Victoria.” That film will go out theatrically via Bob Berney and Bill Pohlad’s new Apparition label, and SPWAG will handle all ancillaries as part of a three-way deal on the pic.

SPWAG has a homevid deal with Apparition.

The “Parnassus” deal with Sony has long been in the works and could be made official this week.

Reps on the deal, including sales agent John Sloss, remained mum.

The film goes out in the fourth quarter through various distributors in European territories including the U.K., France, Germany and Italy, plus Australia and New Zealand.

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