Weinstein Co. sold rights to black and white pic in package deal

Entertainment Film Distributors has picked up U.K. rights to Michel Hazanavicus’ black-and-white silent pic “The Artist.”

Distrib picked up the title from the Weinstein Co., which bought multiterritory rights — the U.S., Blighty and Oz — for the pic from Wild Bunch pre-Cannes for low seven figures.

Village Roadshow will release the pic in Australia.

Since the Cannes Film Festival, where it played in competition, a number of distributors in Blighty were vying for the pic before TWC went with Entertainment as part of a package deal.

Jean Dujardin, Berenice Bejo, Missi Pyle, John Goodman, James Cromwell and Penelope Ann Miller star in the pic, set in 1927 Hollywood. Story follows a silent movie star who wonders if the arrival of talking pictures will end his career. Hazanavicius penned the script.

Entertainment currently has the No. 1 film at the U.K. box office: “The Inbetweeners,” based on the hit sitcom, has taken $62.6 million, the highest-grossing independent comedy ever in the U.K.

But Timur Bekmambetov’s “Apollo 18,” which TWC snapped up at the American Film Market last year, has underperformed for Entertainment in Blighty: the sci-fi thriller took $228,000 in its second weekend, dropping 74% for a $1.6 million cume. Entertainment is also skedded to release Luc Besson’s “The Lady,” which preemed in Toronto this week.

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