StudioCanal pic sweeps slew of sales

EXCLUSIVE: Combat action epic, “Special Forces,” starring Diane Kruger, stormed into Cannes, selling out nearly all major territories.

A cast and distrib dinner with eight minutes of footage helped build interest in StudioCanal’s most ambitious French movie to date, which it produced with Gaul’s Easy Company.

There is also strong interest from the U.S., said Harold van Lier, StudioCanal’s exec VP of international sales.

StudioCanal will release “Special Forces” in France and its subsid, Optimum Releasing, will distribute in the U.K.

Other pacts were signed with Top Film Distribution for Russia, Spain’s Wide Pics, Playarte Pics for Latin America, Japan’s Klockworx Co., Germany’s Atlas Film, Australia’s Madman Entertainment, Village Roadshow in Greece, Turkey’s TMC Film and Gulf Film for the Middle East.

Confirming distributors’ appetite for genre fare with high production values and contained budgets, deals were finalizing Monday for Canada, Scandinavia, Poland and South East Asia.

“Special Forces,” budgeted at just under $25 million, is helmed by France’s Stephane Rybojad and set in Afghanistan, though shot in Tajikistan, Djibouti and the French Alps.

Kruger stars as a journalist kidnapped by the Taliban. Cast includes Djimon Hounsou, Denis Menochet, Benoit Magimel and Raphael Personnaz co-starring.

“This film gives our foreign partners a strong message as to the direction we are taking with our local productions: Cinematic scale, emotion, commercial appeal and global reach,” Van Lier said.

“Special Forces” will bow in Gaul Nov. 2.

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