Sales outfit nabs rights to 'Hurt Locker' follow up

LONDON — Stuart Ford’s powerhouse sales outfit IM Global is in advanced stages to acquire foreign rights to Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal’s as yet untitled follow up to “The Hurt Locker.”

The duo began shopping the international thriller, which is set to be penned by Boal and helmed by Bigelow, in December, and is likely to film before the fall 2011 start of Paramount’s “Triple Frontier.”

Only details to emerge at the time of going to press is that the narrative concerns black ops and is based on a true story that has appeared in printed form. The pic does not, as previously indicated, directly revolve around Osama bin Laden.

The indie project is similar in approach to the $10 million “Hurt Locker,” and while “Triple Frontier” is still skedded to lense in the fall, Bigelow and Boal have opted to squeeze in an indie pic in the meantime.

It is believed that a fairly intense bidding war by sales agents unfolded over the Christmas holidays. Companies such as Summit Ent. and Nicolas Chartier’s Voltage Pictures, which backed, produced and sold “The Hurt Locker,” are also likely vying for the project.

If the deal goes through, IM Global will liekly rep the film at Berlin’s European Film Market in a few weeks, and it is sure to be one of the hot titles at the the mart. Ford’s outfit has been particularly aggressive at the recent major festivals and markets.

In Toronto, the L.A.- and London-based company, which is backed by multi-billion dollar Indian outfit Reliance Big Ent., treated the fest as any other market and confidently pre-sold north of $30 million in international pre-sales on the $45 million 3D pic “Dredd,” produced by Brit shingle DNA Films. Shortly after, Lionsgate snapped up domestic rights.

At the American Film Market in November, IM Global secured a multi-territory deal with Fox on the $65 million BBC Earth project, “Walking with Dinosaurs,” marking one of the biggest deals the AFM had seen in years.

IM Global will also be launching sales at Berlin on Madonna’s second directorial effort, “W.E.,” a two-tiered drama depicting the love affair between King Edward VIII and American divorcee Wallis Simpson, and a modern-day romance between a married woman and a Russian security guard.

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