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Studio Canal buys into Legende

Producer Goldman poached from Gaumont

CANNES — In a signal that Vivendi Universal’s Euro film biz is alive and kicking, Studio Canal has taken a 49% stake in Alain Goldman’s Legende Entreprises, wooing the French producer away from a 10-year first-look relationship with Gaumont.

Unveiling a raft of projects in development with Goldman at the tail end of the Cannes’ film fest, Studio Canal chief exec Richard Lenormand said the company took a stake in Legende because it wanted a “strong and exclusive” partnership with Goldman, whose movies include the recent box office hit from director Matthieu Kassovitz, “Crimson Rivers.”

Lenormand said: “Those who had doubts about the future of Studio Canal can rest assured.”

Goldman’s central place at Studio Canal will equal vet in-house producer Alain Sarde’s in importance, industryites said. At the same time, his split with Gaumont is seen as another blow for the troubled French major.

Studio Canal said, however, it “remained attentive” to Legende maintaining its relations with Gaumont.

Goldman’s upcoming projects include “Crimson Rivers 2,” which, like the first Gaumont-backed pic, will feature French stars Jean Reno and Vincent Cassel. A different helmer will be brought on board.

Goldman is also working on an adaptation of the first novel by “Crimson Rivers” scribe Christophe Grange, “Le Vol des cigognes” (“The Flight of the Storks”). The pic may be helmed by Jan Kounen with Vincent Cassel attached to star.

Goldman also holds the rights to Frederic Beigbeder’s novel “99 francs,” currently in development for the big screen by Canal Plus.

Also in the pipeline is an adaptation of the novel “L’enquete Corse,” which Goldman is working on with French actor-producer Christian Clavier.