StudioCanal ‘Dino’-mite at Berlin

It pumps presales on 'Dinosaur,' 'Blackbird'

As Berlin’s European Film Market rounds the bend into the home stretch, StudioCanal is on track for impressive pre-sales for two of its flagship productions: CGI adventure movie “The Dinosaur Project” and Stefan Ruzowitzky’s “Blackbird.”

StudioCanal has already taken all rights for France, Germany and U.K. on both titles.

It will release the pair in France; StudioCanal subsid Optimum Releasing will distrib in the U.K.; and Kinowelt, another StudioCanal company, covers in Germany.

StudioCanal has also found healthy sales traction in the rest of the world, where it is selling the films.

Directed by CGI specialists Sid Bennett and Tom Pridham, produced by Nick Hill for London’s Kent Films, and exec produced by Optimum’s Jenny Borgars and Danny Perkins, “Dinosaur” begins shooting in May in South Africa.

StudioCanal has offers from Spain, Latin America, Australia, Canada, Scandinavia and Turkey, and will close on these by market’s end, said Harold van Lier, StudioCanal exec VP of international sales.

On “Blackbird,” by Austrian helmer Ruzowitzky (“The Counterfeiters”), StudioCanal has closed Benelux (E1 Benelux), Greece (Village Roadshow), the Middle East (Gulf Film) and Israel (United King). Van Lier expects sales in seven more territories by market’s end.

For StudioCanal, “Dinosaur” and “Blackbird” repped very different propositions.

On “Dinosaur,” rather like “The Last Exorcism,” StudioCanal aims to cover all of its budget from some of its foreign pre-sales by the end of the EFM, seeing pure upside from its three-territory direct distribution, half of international and a U.S. sale, van Lier said.

Fully financed by StudioCanal, “Dinosaur’s” budget is higher than that of “The Last Exorcism,” which was about $2 million, but “Dinosaur” is priced reasonably, van Lier said. Pic will be ready early spring 2012.

For the $25 million-budgeted “Blackbird,” a character-driven action thriller that makes its market bow at Berlin, van Lier is hoping to reach about 70% of its international revenues target, estimated against StudioCanal’s own three territories and its foreign sales, by fest’s end.

“Blackbird” has already sold to Canada (eOne), Australia (Hopscotch) and South Korea (UniKorea).

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