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CONSTANTIN CATCH

Munich firm nabs 'Manhattan Nocturne' rights

Redoubling efforts on the U.S. front, Munich-based Constantin Film has acquired screen rights to Colin Harrison’s bestselling “Manhattan Nocturne.”

“It’s a classic murder mystery,” said Bernd Eichinger, chairman and CEO of the production and distribution company which has offices in Los Angeles.

Harrison’s noir suspenser, about a jaded Gotham reporter who gets in over his head when he falls for the widow of an edgy film director, is being shepherded by Robert Kosberg (“12 Monkeys”), who exec produces along with Jonas Goodman. Kosberg has a first-look deal with Constantin.

The screenplay is being adapted by Laith Zawawi. His deal was brokered by Creative Artists Agency’s Adam Kanter and attorney Stuart Rosenthal of Bloom, Hergott, Cook, Deimer & Klein.

Constantin scored Germany’s biggest B.O. ever with “Der Bewegte Mann” (a remake is being developed under the title “Maybe, Maybe Not” by Kosberg for Cinergi), and will continue to make films for the German market, Eichinger told Daily Variety.

With “Manhattan Nocturne,” the company is signaling a new direction.

“We’ve been making English-language films,” Eichinger said, referring to “The Name of the Rose,” among others, “but they were European-oriented. Now we plan to increase the number of English-language films in development aimed at the U.S. audience.”

Constantin’s current Julia Ormond starrer, “Smilla’s Sense of Snow,” based on a bestseller and helmed by Bille August, has enjoyed a flurry of decent grosses in limited U.S. release for Fox Searchlight, after scooping up more than $7 million in Germany.

Constantin is producing the Leslie Nielsen spoof “Wrongfully Accused,” with Morgan Creek distribbing domestically. Also in active development are “The Silver Surfer,” based on the Marvel Comics character; a contempo remake of Fritz Lang’s “M”; and “Resident Evil,” based on the Sony PlayStation vidgame.

Eichinger, originally a TV writer, recently directed “A Girl Called Rosemarie,” his first feature film, which aired on German TV.

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