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Miramax Intl. wraps deals around globe

Additional pacts in the wings, exec says

Miramax Intl. has wrapped up a string of package deals in the wake of Cannes, some of which see the indie powerhouse dealing with new distribution partners.

In Japan, Miramax has struck its first significant deal with Gaga Communications (the distrib had bought several smaller Miramax pics before), selling it Kevin Smith’s “Dogma,” starring Linda Fiorentino and Ben Affleck; Michael Moore’s sparky documentary “The Big One”; the new horror pic from Kevin Williamson and Robert Rodriguez, “The Faculty;” and screwball comedy “Hav Plenty.”

Shochiku, a regular Miramax collaborator, picked up six pics including the Matt Damon-starrer “Rounders” and the “Highlander” sequel.

A third Japanese distrib, Asmik/ACE, acquired the romantic comedy “Next Stop Wonderland” and Wes Craven’s drama “50 Violins.”

According to Miramax Intl. senior VP of distribution Cedric Jeanson — who concluded the deals with Miramax chairman, worldwide distribution, Rick Sands — Miramax used Cannes to consolidate its distrib relationships across the troubled Asian market.

“While we have had to revise our numbers in certain markets, such as South Korea, others, for example Taiwan, continue to be pretty healthy,” Jeanson said.

In South Korea, Miramax has switched to distributing all its product via Buena Vista Intl. In Taiwan, it sold three pics to ERA and five to Scholar, one of Taiwan’s leading exhibition groups.

In Mexico, Miramax also has decided to distribute all pics via its studio parent, which continues to handle virtually all the minimajor’s product in the U.K.

The first pic to go under the new deal with BVI in Mexico will be David Cronenberg’s “Existenz” (Miramax bought U.S. and Latin American rights from the pic’s producer, Alliance Pictures), followed by “Highlander” and “Scream” writer Williamson’s directorial debut, “Killing Mrs. Tingle.” Other deals concluded in Cannes were a 14-pic package with Village Roadshow, including “Rounders,” “Tingle” and James Gray’s “The Yards”; 11 films to Benelux’s RCV; three films in Germany to Kinowelt, and three to Scotia, including the Cannes prizewinner, Roberto Benigni’s “Life Is Beautiful”; and six to Italy’s Cecchi Gori, including “Faculty” and the upcoming “Halloween” sequel, “Halloween: H20.”

In Scandinavia, Miramax split its package between Nordisk and Scanbox, while BVI took all Scandic rights to “Life.” In Brazil, Jeanson said that Miramax was in advanced talks with Lumiere about striking what he described as a “new type of (distribution) partnership.” No further details were available. In France all Miramax pics continue to go through BAC Films. Jeanson said that he expected further deals in Italy and Argentina to be concluded shortly.

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