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Universal goes Wide on pics

Spanish arm signs deal with film buyer

MADRID — Universal Pictures Intl. Spain has inked a five-pic distribution deal with Barcelona-based Wide Pictures, Spain’s most aggressive mainstream film buyer.

Marketing execs from U and Wide are teaming to work on theatrical release strategies and print production.

The pair worked on the Feb. 20 Spanish release of Mickey Rourke starrer “The Wrestler.”

Next up are Guillermo Arriaga’s Charlize Theron drama “The Burning Plain” on March 13, and Don Cheadle and Guy Pierce’s terrorist thriller “Traitor” on March 27. Kevin Smith’s “Zack and Miri Make a Porno” bows in Spain before the summer.

U will optimize its distrib structure in Spain working closely with local players such as Wide, which shares a similar taste in distribution slates.

In the future, U could extend similar partnerships to other local indie distributors.

Wide also teamed in January with Hispano Fox Film to bow Tom Cruise’s “Valkyrie” in Spain and has a 10-pic distribution deal with Barcelona-based DeAPlaneta that includes Rob Marshall’s musical “Nine,” according to Wide prexy Luis de Val.

Launched last year, Wide has rapidly gained a reputation on international markets  as Spain’s most active movie buyer, investing initially more than EUR 20 million ($25.4 million) in 25 mainstream films.

It announced a two-year distribution deal with mini-major Filmax Entertainment in May. This commitment has now been limited to DVD distribution, De Val said.

Wide’s most recent acquisitions include Robert Redford’s romantic thriller “The Company You Keep” from Voltage Pictures, and Neil Jordan’s upcoming fantasy story “Ondine” from Paramount Vantage.

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