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‘Onegin’ goes to Rysher

Rysher Entertainment pulled off a surprise last-minute victory in the battle for worldwide rights to the Ralph Fiennes project “Eugene Onegin.”

Rysher came from behind to beat out Summit Entertainment, which virtually had the deal in its pocket Friday.

“Eugene Onegin,” based on Alexander Pushkin’s 19th century Russian novel, will star Fiennes and Liv Tyler. Fiennes will also take a producing credit along with Ileen Maisel. Pic will be directed by his sister, Martha.

Budget is around $15 million. It’s due to begin lensing in February on location in St. Petersburg.

Summit was already pitching the project Friday, with CEO Patrick Wachsberger assuring Daily Variety, “We have the picture. Definitely.”

CAA’s John Ptak, who was in charge of the auction, also told Daily Variety that Summit looked set for the deal, although legal work was still in progress.

Rysher came back with a rich new offer late Friday night, and started selling the project Saturday. Rysher had skedded a cocktail party Friday to unveil the pic, with Fiennes attending, but had to go ahead without an announcement and without the star because the deal at that point seemed to have fallen through.

The issues were resolved amicably between the two companies.

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