UPI acquires Roberts to handle int’l pickups

Exec tapped to buy foreign rights

LONDON — Universal Pictures Intl. has appointed Ben Roberts director of acquisitions, a newly created post.

Roberts, previously general manager of indie distrib Metrodome, will be responsible for developing UPI’s strategy of buying all rights to movies in key operating territories.

UPI is U’s foreign home entertainment arm. Over the past couple of years it stopped acquiring straight-to-video product and started buying theatrical fare to supplement its slate of pics from U and DreamWorks.

It picked up “Kill Bill Vol. 1” in Japan, and “Phantom of the Opera” in Australia and Latin America, for example.

London-based Roberts will work closely with U’s L.A.-based acquisitions team, and with UPI’s territory managers, who will continue to be responsible for local-lingo pickups.

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