Distrib buys U.S. rights from Wild Bunch

PARIS — The Weinstein Co. has acquired U.S. rights to Regis Roinsard’s 1950s set romantic comedy ”Populaire” from pan-European outfit Wild Bunch.

David Glasser, TWC’s chief operating officer, said he and co-chairman Harvey Weinstein read the script and watched 20 minutes of the film before deciding to take U.S. rights.

”The look and feel of ‘Populaire’ is very reminiscent of old classic comedies,” said Glasser, who added the company is in early negotiations to acquire more territories.

According to Vincent Maraval, topper at Wild Bunch, which backed ”The Artist,” ”The charm of ‘Populaire’ comes from the fact that it is pure cinema: It’s set in a visually-pleasing wonderland. ”

Produced by Alain Attal’s Les Productions du Tresor on a 14.7 million ($19.5 million) budget, ”Populaire” is a Cinderella story turning on a young small-town woman whose extraordinary typing abilities lead her to compete at New York’s world typing championship. It’s Roinsard’s directorial debut.

Romain Duris (”Heartbreaker”) and Deborah Francois (”The Monk”) topline along with ”The Artist” star Berenice Bejo.

The top-notch crew includes ”The Artist” cinematographer Guillaume Schiffman.

Pic, which is now in post-production, was one of Berlin’s sales standouts. It’s also one of the rare pics acquired by two free-to-air channels in Gaul.

Mars Distribution will handle the highly anticipated French release on Oct. 24.

”Populaire” is the latest title in a long string of French pics acquired by TWC since ”The Artist.” The shingle also nabbed Jean Dujardin-starrer ”The Players” from Wild Bunch.

TWC will present smash hit comedy ”Untouchable” at Colcoa on April 23 in the presence of the pic’s scribe-helmer duo Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano.

Gaul’s President Nicolas Sarkozy recently awarded Weinstein with the Chevalier of the Legion of Honor for his contribution to cinema.

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