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Momentum rolls with ‘Brother,’ ‘Bullwinkle’

U.K. firm picks up summer pics

Get updates throughout the day in our Cannes 2000 special report.

CANNES — Momentum Pictures, the newly renamed U.K. distribution joint venture between Alliance Atlantis and Kinowelt, has picked up U.K. rights to two pics from Universal Pictures Intl.: “O Brother, Where Art Thou” and “The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle.”

“Rocky and Bullwinkle” is U’s big summer release Stateside, opening July 4 with a $30 million P&A spend. Joel and Ethan Coen’s “O Brother, Where Art Thou,” which was the first film produced by Working Title under its co-financing deal with U and Canal Plus, is a high-profile entry in official selection at the Cannes Film Festival.

The twin acquisition is a signal that Momentum, under managing director David Kosse, plan to be aggressive in picking up movies to supplement the flow of product from its two parent companies.

“This is a big vote of confidence for a studio like Universal to give us their big summer release and their first Working Title Film,” Kosse commented.

Momentum already has an output deal with Artisan Entertainment and a six-pic package from Studio Canal Plus. It will also benefit from Kinowelt Intl.’s recent overall deal with Hollywood producer Gale Anne Hurd.

In the U.K., Momentum, via Alliance, has first-look deals with Natural Nylon Entertainment and Company Pictures.

Meanwhile, Universal appears to be adopting a flexible and opportunistic policy regarding the international distribution of its films. It has already sold “O Brother” to Bac Films in France, but was not seeking to sell off the pic in the U.K. until it was approached by Momentum.

It recently sold Ridley Scott’s “Hannibal” to Filmauro in Italy, Gaga in Japan and Tobis in Germany, but has now decided to call a halt to further international sales of that pic, despite having large bids on the table from several territories, including the U.K.

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