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Spain’s On Pictures takes ‘Ember’

Pic stars Bill Murray

GRANADA, Spain  — Madrid-based indie distribber On Pictures has inked all Spanish rights on Gil Kenan’s family adventure pic “City of Ember,” toplining Bill Murray, Toby Jones and Saoirse Ronan.

Produced by Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman’s shingle Playtone, “City” represents the biggest acquisition to date for On Pictures, the film distribution and production arm of Spanish publishing and media conglom, the Zeta Group.

Deal was negotiated at last month’s Cannes market with Summit Ent., which also sold the distrib “I Know Who Killed Me,” a thriller with Lindsay Lohan, Julia Ormond and Neal McDonough.

Another On Pictures high-profile pickup at Cannes was Spanish helmer Isabel Coixet’s “Elegy,” an adaptation of Philip Roth’s novel “The Dying Animal,” starring Penelope Cruz, Ben Kingsley and Dennis Hopper. “Elegy” was sold by Lakeshore.

From Sidney Kimmel Ent., On Pictures bought the Jack Black and Tim Robbins comedy “Ye Olde Times,” and an already-announced pickup — terrorism story “Unthinkable,” toplining Forest Whitaker.

Before Cannes, On Pictures acquired from Greenstreet the comedy “Wedding Daze” and, from Inferno, the remake of George Cukor’s “The Women,” which Diane English is prepping.

Launched September 2004, On Pictures has progressively built its financial muscle for pic acquisitions on the international market. Its biggest Spanish B.O. successes for the moment have been Woody Allen’s films: “Match Point” collected Euros7.7 million ($10.4 million) in Spain; “Scoop,” $7.8 million. On Pictures will bow “Cassandra’s Dream” Oct. 7.

On Pictures has recently entered film production with a live-action adaptation of Spain’s  popular comic books “Mortadelo & Filemon,” helmed by Miguel Bardem.

A first promo of “Mortadelo & Filemon. Mission: To Save the Earth” was shown to international buyers at this week’s Madrid de Cine-Spanish Film Screenings by On Pictures execs and toppers from Spanish sales consortium 6 Sales, which handles international rights.

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