Magic act for Yari’s distrib arm

'Illusionist' skedded for August 18 release

Ramping up its distribution initiatives, Bob Yari’s Yari Film Group has pegged an Aug. 18 rollout for its Edward Norton starrer “The Illusionist.”

Following its preem at Sundance this year, the pic drew studio interest, and Yari was said to be in talks to sell off the pic to Universal.

But the company decided to keep “Illusionist” for itself as it pumps up its burgeoning distribution arm: The unit rolled out Sidney Lumet’s “Find Me Guilty” last month and released Adam Rapp’s “Winter Passing” in February.

Company has just brought former Paramount Classics co-head David Dinerstein on board as a distribution consultant.

Yari last year merged his various labels — including Stratus Film Co., Bull’s Eye Entertainment, Bob Yari. Prods. and El Camino Pictures — into a single entity.

Produced by Yari — with Michael London (“Sideways”), Cathy Schulman (“Crash”) and “Ocean’s Thirteen” scribes Brian Koppelman and David Levien — “Illusionist” was helmed by Burger as a bigscreen adaptation of Steven Millhauser’s short story “Eisenheim the Illusionist.”

Norton plays a magician in turn-of-the-20th-century Vienna who falls in love with a woman above his social standing. When she becomes engaged to a prince, the magician uses his powers to win her back and undermine the stability of the royal house of Vienna.

YFG’s upcoming production credits include the Josh Hartnett/ Samuel L. Jackson vehicle “Resurrecting the Champ,” with Phoenix Pictures.