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Legende Films to open U.S. outpost

L.A.-based Legende USA will target international auds

After producing a flurry of high-profile pics — from Ridley Scott’s “1492: Conquest of Paradise” to Marion Cotillard starrer “La Vie en rose” and Rose Bosch’s “The Roundup” — over the last 20 years, Alain Goldman’s Paris-based Legende Films is aiming to take a page from Hollywood.

The outfit, which counts Gaumont as a minority shareholder, will bow Los Angeles-based Legende USA this summer, dedicated to English-language and internationally-skewing films.

“Firstly, we’re bringing our expertise in producing quality-driven movies with original concepts and reasonable budgets (up to $40 million),” said Goldman, citing “La Vie en rose,” which was budgeted under $30 million and grossed more than $81 million worldwide. “Secondly, we’re bringing financing from Europe, mainly from France because most of my connections are here.”

While Gaumont, which took a 37% stake in Legende in 2010, will keep its first-look option and remain a natural partner to Legende in the U.S., Goldman said the outfit will collaborate with other players. “We’ll be developing material the same way we’ve been doing our business here in France, we’ll only be looking to make one or two pictures per year.”

Goldman said the U.S. shingle will remake French and European pics, notably Legende’s successful credits.

“The idea behind our U.S. banner is also to work with European or French talent and filmmakers who want to go international and need a producer who understands both cultures and can make it work,” he said.

Jerome Enrico’s French B.O. sleeper hit “Paulette” is one of the first pics that Goldman aims to remake. Like “The Intouchables,” “Paulette” is a comedy based on a true story.

It stars Bernadette Lafont (“Le Skylab”) as a grumpy older woman living alone in the projects who starts dealing soft drugs to make ends meet, and proves surprisingly adept at it.

Distributed and repped by Gaumont, pic has already sold in key territories, including North America via Cohen Media Group, and has grossed a healthy $5 million in Gaul since bowing on Jan. 16. Gaumont Intl., headed by Cecile Gaget, will screen the pic in the market on Monday.

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