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Searchlight finds Woody

Studio eyes worldwide rights deal for his next film

Woody Allen is showing up in new places. First, he became a spokesman for French tourism. Now he’ll be at Fox Searchlight.

The studio is negotiating a worldwide rights deal for his next film. Allen just completed a three-pic domestic distribution deal at DreamWorks that will be completed when the studio distributes the Jason Biggs/Christina Ricci starrer “Anything Else” this fall.

The one-picture deal for Allen, being negotiated by ICM, business manager Steve Tennenbaum and Searchlight prexy Peter Rice, covers a project he will direct in the fall.

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EQUAL OPPORTUNITY
Fox, which will handle Woody Allen’s next film, will be the sixth different distrib on his last 10 pictures.
Release date/Title Studio Dom. Cume*
’02 Hollywood Ending DreamWorks 4.8
’01 Curse of the Jade Scorpion DreamWorks 7.5
’00 Small Time Crooks DreamWorks 17.2
’99 Sweet and Lowdown Sony Classics 4.1
’98 Celebrity Miramax 5.0
’97 Deconstructing Harry FineLine 10.6
’96 Everyone Says I Love You Miramax 9.7
’95 Mighty Aphrodite Miramax 6.4
’94 Bullets Over Broadway Miramax 13.3
’93 Manhatten Murder Mystery TriStar 11.3
*Domestic cume in millions of dollars

Like all Allen films, the title, script and plot are being kept close to the vest. There is no cast yet. Deal puts a single corporation in control of all territories — the first time that has happened on an Allen film since agreements he had with Orion and then TriStar. Latter pact ended in 1993 after “Manhattan Murder Mystery.”

Allen ended that relationship and had his next seven films financed by Jean Doumanian and Sweetland Films. She’d been his best friend since he began on the standup circuit 40 years ago, but that relationship soured and ended up in an acrimonious court battle. Doumanian made domestic deals on those films with Miramax, Fine Line and Sony Pictures Classics.

After parting company with Doumanian, Allen made the three-pic DreamWorks pact with his old friend Jeffrey Katzenberg. DreamWorks partly funded the films, and Allen’s reps brokered foreign territories.

Even as his grosses have waned from the “Annie Hall” days, Allen has continued to make the films he has wanted to make in an autonomous fashion that will likely continue: Fox is making the new deal without having seen the script.

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