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Ron Howard’s ‘Rush’ racks up sales

Indie Formula One pic sold to 30 markets

Ron Howard’s racing drama “Rush” is showing plenty of traction in international markets, a year before its expected release.

Exclusive Media Group announced Wednesday, the final day of the American Film Market, that it had sold the pic to distributors for 30 markets including Alliance Films for Canada, Aurum for Spain, Universum/RTL for Germany, E1 for Australia and New Zealand, MisLabel for Scandinavia and Independent in Benelux. Variety reported Monday that StudioCanal had picked up U.K. rights.

Alex Walton, president of Exclusive Films Intl., told Variety that bidding had been highly competitive with strong pricing. “We believe this film will be a major event title for the end of 2012, and we have the strongest international partners to realize that worldwide,” he added.

Universal’s handling the U.S. release. Walton said it’s likely that the domestic launch will be tied to the Nov. 16-18 Formula One race in Austin, Texas.

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Exclusive came on during the Toronto Film Festival to co-finance “Rush” with Cross Creek Pictures. Project, which sports recognizable talents such as Chris Hemsworth, Daniel Bruhl and Olivia Wilde, is seen as part of the growing efforts by the indie sector to take advantage as the big Hollywood studios move away from mid-budget projects.

Story focuses on the rivalry between James Hunt (Hemsworth) and Niki Lauda (Bruhl) and their Formula One racing teams, McLaren and Ferrari, as both were pushed to the breaking point of their physical and psychological endurance. Shooting will start in February in and around Formula One tracks in Silverstone, England, and Nurburgring, Germany.

Exclusive’s deals for “Rush” include California Filmes for Latin America; Ascot Elite for Switzerland; NuMetro for South Africa; Noori Pictures for South Korea; Lusomundo for Portugal; Golden Scene for Hong Kong; Audiovisual for Greece; Sam Film for Iceland; Tanweer Film for Turkey; Tandem for Bulgaria; Blitz for Croatia, Slovenia and Serbia; AQS for the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic; Media Pro for Hungary and Romania; ITI for Poland; United King for Israel; Front Row for the Middle East; Apsara/Reliance for India and Pakistan; PT Amero for Indonesia; Media Films for Malaysia and Thailand; Cathay Keris Films for Singapore; Star TV for South East Asian TV; and Blockbuster for Taiwan.

Producers are Howard, Brian Oliver, Brian Grazer, Eric Fellner, Peter Morgan and Andrew Eaton. Exclusive co-chairmen Nigel Sinclair and Guy East exec produce with Exclusive head of production Tobin Armbrust. Imagine’s Todd Hallowell also exec produces.

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