'Point Blank' is among French mini-major's highlights

Underscoring its strength as one of France’s leading mini-majors, Gaumont has racked up sales to major territories across its eclectic slate following the American Film Market earlier this month.

AFM also marked the first market for Gaumont’s rejigged sales team: Yohann Comte, who previously handled international sales at Roissy and EuropaCorp, joined the company as VP of sales, Virginie Royer was tapped sales manager, while Cecile Gaget was upped to head of international sales.

The highlight of Gaumont’s slate was high-voltage crime suspenser “Point Blank,” from Fred Cavaye (“Anything for Her”). It world preemed at the market. Pic sold to Germany (Atlas), the U.K. (Vertigo/Sony), Latin America (California), Japan (Broadmedia), Canada (Entertainment One), Russia (Film Depot) and Scandinavia (CCV), among other territories.

Gaget said she’s holding negotiations with Spanish and U.S. buyers and beginning talks on remake rights. Gaumont will handle the Gallic bow on Dec. 1. Cavaye last collaborated with Paul Haggis to pen “The Last Three Days,” the U.S. remake of Diane Kruger starrer “Anything for Her,” which Cavaye wrote and directed in 2008.

“The AFM remains a market where American sales agents announce and pre-sale their big projects, but we pulled it off very nicely because we had highly identifiable films, like Fred Cavaye’s ‘Point Blank,’ which buyers were anticipating,” Gaget said.

Gaumont was holding two more world preems at the AFM — 2D animated feature “Santa’s Apprentice” and Eric Besnard’s adventure actioner “600 kg d’or pur,” which yielded a flurry of sales. Pic sold to Germany (Wild Bunch), Australia (Madman), Russia (Carmen), Poland (Monolith), Greece (Odeon), Portugal (Lusomundo), Indonesia (PT Amero), China (E Star), Thailand (IPA).

Besnard’s pic follows a group of treasure hunters on a doomed mission across Guyana’s jungle.

Meanwhile, “Santa’s Apprentice,” a $6.7 million spinoff of Jan Van Rijsselberge’s hit animated series “Santa Apprentice,” was picked up by the Weinstein Co. for North America and the U.K., HBO in Latin America and Universum in Germany and a clutch of other territories. The $6.7 million toon turns on a retiring Santa Claus who must train a shy boy to replace him.

Gaumont also unveiled promo reels of up-and-coming French helmer Julie Gavras’ sexagenarian romantic comedy “Late Bloomers,” and Regis Wargnier’s drama “La Ligne Droite,” which prompted a raft of sales.

Wargnier’s pic was pre-sold to Japan (Longride), South Korea (BoogeeYoung), Israel (Shapira), Turkey (Filma), China (Edko and Joymax.”La Ligne Droite” centers on the friendship between a former athlete who’s just come out of prison (Rachida Brakni), and a young man who’s recently lost vision (Cyril Descours).

“Late Bloomers,” a French-U.K. co-prod starring William Hurt and Isabella Rosselini, was picked up by Palace

(Australia), Paradise (CIS), Art Film (Brazil), Shapira (Israel) ,Weg (India), Lusomundo (Portugal), Greece (Odeon), among others.

The London-set film centers on an aging couple who separate to revive the spark and romance in their relationship.

In line with StudioCanal, Gaumont has been upping its production of English-language films in the past two years, notably with Eva Mendes starrer “Last Night,” which sold to all major territories and was just picked up by Japan’s Alcine Terran.

“Japan is back: We’ve signed three deals for this territory for theatrical release,” Gaget said.

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