TriPictures adds prod’n

Distrib will take stake in new 'Asterix' pic

Spanish distrib TriPictures has dipped its toe into international production, taking a minority equity stake in one of Europe’s most expensive productions, the E80 million ($95.2 million) French-language “Asterix at the Olympic Games.”

Co-produced by Jerome Seydoux’s Pathe Renn Prods. and Thomas Langemann’s La Petite Reine, “Asterix” rolls from June 18 over 20 weeks, shooting at Alicante’s Ciudad de la Luz studios.

Thomas Langemann and Frederic Forestier (“The Peacekeeper”) co-helm. Pic toplines Clovis Cornillac as Asterix and Gerard Depardieu as Obelix.

Alain Delon plays Julius Caesar, Jose Garcia (“Le couperet”) is Sacapus. Spanish thesps Santiago Segura (the “Torrente” saga) and Elsa Pataky (“Romasanta, the Werewolf Hunt”) also are attached, per TriPictures.

TriPictures will take all of Spain’s distribution rights on “Asterix,” plus a percentage of international revs.

“Asterix” marks a departure in TriPictures’ strategy from pure distrib to co-producer.

“Co-producing is more attractive for us because it reduces risk on our investment,” TriPictures prexy Felipe Ortiz said.

Spain’s New Line distrib, TriPictures was Spain’s highest-grossing indie distributor in 2005, cuming $43.8 million in theatrical B.O. thanks to “Alexander” ($13 million), “Blade: Trinity” ($7.2 million) and “Monster-in-Law” ($6.3 million).