CBS Films goes ‘Salmon Fishing’

Company in final talks for Lasse Hallstrom romcom

CBS Films is in final negotiations to acquire domestic rights to Lasse Hallstrom’s romantic comedy “Salmon Fishing in Yemen” for an estimated $5 million.

The distributor confirmed the talks Sunday at the Toronto Film Festival, where Summit was also active in the bidding for “Salmon Fishing.” The drama, starring Ewan McGregor, Emily Blunt, Kristin Scott Thomas and Amr Waked, is one of the higher-profile titles for sale during the festival.

Lionsgate U.K. is producing alongside BBC Films and Paul Webster at Kudos Pictures and began selling foreign territories during last year’s Cannes market. Executive producers are Jamie Laurenson, Stephen Garrett, Paula Jalfon, Zygi Kamasa and Guy Avshalom.

“Slumdog Millionaire” scribe Simon Beaufoy penned “Fishing,” which follows an ordinary Englishman’s path of self-discovery as he becomes involved in a project that makes Yemen a new home for salmon. Script’s based on the book by Paul Torday.

CBS Films signaled that it was looking to amp up its acquisitions biz in July when it tapped veteran Sony exec Scott Shooman as exec VP of acquisitions. Shooman worked for a decade at Sony Pictures, rising to VP of acquisitions and productions, and helped acquire “Insidious,” “Hanna,” “Machete” and “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus.”

CBS Films entered the distribution business last year and its acquisition “The Mechanic” drew $30 million in domestic grosses. Acquisitions slated for release in 2012 include “The Woman in Black,” starring Daniel Radcliffe, and “Gambit” starring Colin Firth, Cameron Diaz and Alan Rickman.

UTA is handing the domestic sale of “Salmon.”

“Salmon Fishing” held its world premiere Saturday in Toronto.

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