SPC toons up ‘Rendezvous’

Firm acquired two other French-lingo pics from fest

Sony Pictures Classics has picked up U.S. and Australian rights to Sylvain Chomet’s animated feature “Belleville Rendezvous,” which preemed out of competition last week at the Cannes Film Festival.

Madcap hand-drawn pic, which enjoyed a warm reception at Cannes, was helmed and written by Chomet; its French title is “Les Triplettes de Belleville.”

It’s the story of Champion, an orphaned boy who grows up to be a racer in the Tour de France. When Champion is kidnapped, his grandmother and her dog, Bruno, track him to Belleville, a bustling North American city, enlisting eccentric vaudeville stars Les Triplettes in their search.

Variety called the pic “a sardonic feast of narrative invention and caricature that swings to a nostalgic beat.”

Acquisition caps a burst of activity at Cannes for Sony Pictures Classics. Firm acquired two other French-language pics, Jean-Paul Rappeneau’s “Bon Voyage” and Francois Dupeyron’s “Mr. Ibrahim”; it also took U.S. and other key English-language territories on Istvan Szabo’s “Being Julia,” with Annette Bening and Jeremy Irons.

Deal for “Belleville” was handled by SPC co-prexies Michael Barker, Tom Bernard and Marcie Bloom and senior VP Dylan Leiner. Hengameh Panahi, prexy of Celluloid Dreams, negotiated on behalf of the sales shingle.

Currently in release from SPC are “Respiro” and “Winged Migration.” Latter Oscar-nommed doc is likely to reach $1 million at the U.S. box office next weekend.

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