Local film tops 'Avatar's' take

A historical costume drama that celebrates a 19th century peasant revolt in one of eastern Europe’s smallest nations, Lithuania, has become the country’s biggest ever box office movie.

Director Donatas Ulvydas’ “Fireheart: The Legend of Tadas Blinda” has cumed 3.8 million litas ($1.41 millon) in five months of release, topping the $1.4 million set by James Cameron’s Hollywood blockbuster “Avatar.”

A tenth of Lithuania’s population, some 300,000 people, have seen “Fireheart,” starring local singer Mantas Jankavicius. Producer Zilvinas Naujokas said that the film, which is being sold by TPlaneta Inform Film Distribution at Berlin, has already been nabbed for Germany, the U.K. and France, with China, Turkey and Australia in talks. There is also festival interest, particularly from Asia and the U.S., where there is a large Lithuanian population.

The film follows a romance between the humble-born hero and a beautiful noblewoman amid a peasant revolt against the brutal Russian army. It’s being dubbed into Russian for theatrical release in Ukraine and Latvia. Sales for TV and DVD in Russia are also in the pipeline.

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