Exclusive: Optimum Releasing has acquired U.K. rights to the Steve Carell/Keira Knightley romance “Seeking a Friend for the End of the World” and Roman Polanski’s “Carnage.”
The U.K. arm of StudioCanal, headed by chief exec Danny Perkins, picked up “Seeking a Friend” from Lions-gate Intl. and “Carnage” from Wild Bunch, for release in 2012.
The two deals are part of Optimum’s push to add more wide releases to its traditional slate of specialized and crossover fare, by a combination of higher-profile acquisitions and ramping up its own local productions.
“Carnage,” adapted from Yasmina Reza’s play, stars Kate Winslet, Christoph Waltz, Jodie Foster and John C. Reilly as two couples who meet after their sons are involved in a schoolyard fight. Sony Pictures Classics has U.S. rights.
“Seeking a Friend for the End of the World,” the directing debut of Lorene Scafaria, is about two neighbors who go on a road trip as an asteroid threatens to destory the planet. It’s co-financed by Indian Paintbrush and Mandate, with Focus picking up U.S. rights.
These deals come amid the strongest box office run in Optimum’s 12-year history, including $10.7 million from “Unknown,” $9.1 million from “Source Code” and $6 million from “The Last Exorcism.”
“Attack the Block,” Optimum’s second inhouse production, which opened Wednesday in the U.K., is the company’s widest ever release of a British film, with 450 prints across 350 locations. Sony will release the pic in the U.S.