Universal to release film in the U.K., Germany, Spain

Essential Entertainment has inked key territory deals for Paul Giamatti topliner “Barney’s Version,” from Serendipity Point Films.

Directed by Canadian filmmaker Richard J. Lewis, indie pic made its world preem at the 2010 Venice Film Festival.

Domestic rights were previously scooped up by Sony Pictures Classics, which will bow the film in an awards-qualifying run on Dec. 3 in New York and Los Angeles. E1 is distributing in Canada.

Territory deals inked by Essential include Universal in the U.K., Germany and Spain; Hopscotch in Australia; E1 Benelux (formerly RCV) for Benelux; Medusa in Italy; California Filmes for Latin America; Feelgood Entertainment in Greece; and Shani Films (Lev Cinemas) in Israel.

“Barney’s Version” is based on Mordecai Richler’s novel about a seemingly ordinary man who lives an extraordinary life. Ensemble cast also includes Dustin Hoffman, Rosamund Pike, Minnie Driver, Rachelle Lefevre, Scott Speedman and Bruce Greenwood.

Serendipity’s Robert Lantos (“Eastern Promises,” “Being Julia”) is producer, while Fandango’s Domenico Procacci co-produced.

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