Distributor gets domestic rights to EuropaCorp sci-fi pic

FilmDistrict has snapped up all U.S. rights to EuropaCorp’s sci-fi adventure “Lockout,” produced by Luc Besson and toplining Guy Pearce and Maggie Grace.

James Mather and Stephen St. Leger will direct from a script they co-write with Besson. Peter Stormare and Tom Hollander also star.

Production is set to begin early next year. Set in the near future, “Lockout” tells the story of a falsely convicted ex-government agent (Pearce) whose only chance of freedom is to accept a dangerous mission to rescue the president’s daughter (Grace) from rioting prisoners at an outer space maximum security prison.

Peter Schlessel and Bob Berney’s FilmDistrict plans to release “Lockout” in the first quarter of 2012.

“Luc and I, and everyone at EuropaCorp, are thrilled there is a new and exciting distribution company in the U.S. We have great respect for Peter and the team, and this deal is about friendship and creativity,” EuropaCorp co-founder Pierre-Ange Le Pogam said.

EuropaCorp began pre-selling foreign rights to “Lockout” at the Cannes Film Festival’s market in May — most territories were sold out by the time of the Toronto fest in September.

Berney said pic will have classically executed action sequences, in addition to a strong cast.

“I’m glad to be in business with guys who produce, finance and distribute their own movies. It makes me confident that they are going to deliver a commercial picture, since they have to distribute it themselves,” Schlessel added.

EuropaCorp was behind the global box office hit “Taken,” produced and co-written by Besson.

Deal for “Lockout” was negotiated by Schlessel and Le Pogam.

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