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Par Classics joins Burns in ‘New York’

$2 mil bid wins distrib rights to APG pic

Paramount Classics has paid north of $2 million dollars for the domestic distribution rights to Artist Production Group’s first pic, the Edward Burns-penned and helmed “Sidewalks of New York.”

Paramount’s classics shingle, which outbid such suitors as Miramax, MGM, Trimark/Lions Gate and Fine Line, will release the pic in North America, Australia, New Zealand and Japan. Buena Vista Film Sales has closed territory deals for the rest of the world.

A relationship comedy set in Gotham, “Sidewalks” stars Burns, Heather Graham, Stanley Tucci, David Krumholtz, Brittany Murphy, Rosario Dawson and Dennis Farina. Producers are Burns, Margot Bridger and APG’s Cathy Schulman and Rick Yorn.

“I’m delighted with Paramount Classics’ enthusiasm for our film and believe that they are ideally qualified to ensure that it reaches its full potential,” said Burns. “APG has demonstrated superb expertise and support in nurturing this project from its inception.”

APG head Schulman said, “Ed Burns’ comedy signals a wonderful launch of APG’s diverse slate, and we believe that Paramount Classics has the right expertise and sensibility to maximize its appeal for a wide range of audiences.”

Added Paramount Classics co-presidents Ruth Vitale and David Dinerstein: “We are thrilled to be working with such a creative filmmaker. The performances are excellent. ‘Sidewalks’ will be a very important film for us.”

APG recently inked a multimillion-dollar joint venture with Studio Canal to make up to 15 pics.

“Sidewalks” is Burns’ fourth writing, directing, starring and producing effort (following “The Brothers McMullen,” “She’s the One” and “No Looking Back”).

Burns’ acting credits include “Saving Private Ryan” and “Fifteen Minutes,” an Industry Entertainment production to be released by New Line in February.

Paramount Classics’ forthcoming releases include Sundance jury prize co-winner “You Can Count on Me,” penned and helmed by Kenneth Lonergan, and “The Gift,” written by Billy Bob Thornton and Tom Epperson and helmed by Sam Raimi.

Contrary to published reports, Paramount Classics will not distribute Christopher Nolan’s “Memento.”

APG heads into production early next year on “The 28th Amendment,” which it is producing along with the Donners Co. Jan de Bont is attached to direct and Warner Bros. will distribute. APG’s “Rainbow Six,” adapted by Michael Schiffer from Tom Clancy’s novel, begins lensing early next year at Paramount, as does “Timeline,” based on Michael Crichton’s novel, which is to be produced by Dick Donner and Lauren Shuler-Donner.

APG’s Schulman and Yorn brokered the “Sidewalks” deal with Barry Hirsch of Armstrong, Hirsch, Jackoway, Tyerman and Wertheimer. Burns is repped by AMG and Joe Funicello of ICM.

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