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Names boost Miramax pix

'Cursed,' 'Sin' bless sales pacts

NEW YORK — Riding a wave of insatiable international thirst for genre pics with brand-name stars, Miramax Films has sealed a spate of overseas pacts at AFM on the upcoming Dimension Films titles “Cursed” and “Sin City.”

After “Cursed” screened Friday night for buyers, the mini-major’s sales arm went ahead to close rights with Svensk in Scandinavia, RCV in Benelux, Gaga in Japan, Golden Village in Singapore and West Video in Russia, among others. In the works are pacts that will bring the film to France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Australia.

“Cursed” reteams the duo behind Dimension’s hit “Scram” franchise, helmer Wes Craven and scribe Kevin Williamson. Pic is a hip update of a classic werewolf tale set in Los Angeles, and stars an ensemble cast with everyone from Christina Ricci and Omar Epps to pop divas Mya and Mandy Moore and Joshua Jackson, Skeet Ulrich, Scott Baio, James Brolin, Shannon Elizabeth and Portia Di Rossi.

Miramax sales guru Jere Hausfater and chief operations office Rick Sands said “Cursed” is selling because of its unique mix of horror and humor, plus a successful screening slot in Santa Monica.

Meantime, Sands and Hausfater were ready to reopen the Miramax ledger today on “Sin City,” the latest effort by another proven Dimension deliveryman, Robert Rodriguez (“Spy Kids” franchise). The mini-major unveiled 20 minutes of footage on the film Saturday night in an invitation-only engagement for buyers attended by Rodriguez.

Like “Cursed,” “City” also stars an ensemble cast, including Jessica Alba, Rosario Dawson, Elijah Wood, Maria Bello, Bruce Willis, Benicio Del Toro, Josh Hartnett, Michael Madsen, Clive Owen, Brittany Murphy and Carla Gugino.

Pic is an adaptation of the graphic novel series by cult comic writer Frank Miller.

Miramax has been on a mission to pump profits during its at-times tense budgetary negotiations with parent The Walt Disney Co. One bone of contention between the two has been Miramax’s profitability. As a result, the mini-major’s co-toppers Harvey and Bob Weinstein have been cutting costs and boosting the bottom line of late to quell any controversy.

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