Berlin fest to bow with femme focus

Sellers bet on women-skewing pix

Chick pics, classy crossovers and Gallic comedies look set to drive much of Berlin’s biz in 2012.

Summit Intl. arrives with “Beautiful Creatures,” a teen fantasy tale of star-crossed love between a boy and girl white witch, drawing on Margaret Stohl and Kami Garcia’s book series. Alcon finances, Warner Bros. distribs Stateside, Richard LaGravenese (“P.S. I Love You”) writes and directs.

The international industry appears to have taken good note of “Twilight’s” largely femme auds, bringing a brace of similar projects into the market. Often with high profile or genre elements, they’re as much femme as fanboy fare.

Kate Hudson toplines Joe Lynch actioner “Everly,” from Crime Scene Pics (“Gambit”), sold by Nick Meyer’s Sierra/Affinity, with Hudson fending off waves of assassins dispatched by her mob-boss ex.

Exclusive Media will talk up “Can a Song Save Your Life?” with aspiring singer Scarlett Johansson finding love and a career with Mark Ruffalo.

FilmNation introduces Steven Soderbergh’s “Bitter Pill,” with Rooney Mara as a prescription painkiller addict awaiting her husband’s jail release.

Stuart Ford’s IM Global kicks off human/puppet crime drama “The Happytime Murders,” from the Jim Henson Co., with Katherine Heigl in final negotiations.

Bucking the trend in femme power, Foresight and the Exchange will commence sales on crime actioner “2 Guns,” reuniting Mark Wahlberg and “Contraband” helmer Baltasar Komarkur. Also, Sierra/Affinity will unveil “Wer,” a werewolf thriller from “The Devil Inside” producers, and Jason Statham thriller “Heat.” Summit Intl. will debut actioner “The Tomb,” starring Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Buyers will also be scouring for crossovers.

“‘The King’s Speech’ and ‘Black Swan’ are not classic arthouse films but ones by able filmmakers who have moved their topics into a more mainstream environment. That’s what we’re all looking for,” said Martin Moszkowicz, at Constantin.

At least two Berlin debutantes could fit this mainstream/auteur bill.

Period drama “Serena” stars Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper in a film helmed by Oscar-winner Susanne Bier, and produced by 2929, co-financed and sold by StudioCanal.

Wild Bunch and producer Alain Attal are battling to lock in key cast in time for Berlin on Guillaume Canet’s English-language directorial debut “Blood Ties,” a New York-set sibling drama-thriller penned by Canet and James Gray.

As “Intouchables” romps past €24.8 million ($28 million) at the German box office, the highest gross ever for a French film in Germany, distributors will spare more than a thought for potential Gallic comedy breakouts.

It’s no coincidence that Wild Bunch has dedicated one whole side of its Martin Gropius-adjacent prefab office to a billboard for Romain Duris-starrer “Populaire,” a “Mad Men”-era romantic comedy.

Other potential Gallic laffer breakouts: Pathe’s “What’s in a Name?” and EuropaCorp’s “Love Lasts Three Years,” both buzzed-about movies at January’s Unifrance Paris Rendez-vous.

Leveraging “Twilight” vibes into — hopefully — “Twilight” results, “Creatures,” at a reported $50 million, is one of Berlin’s more expensive items.

“Serena” is in the $25 million-$30 million range. Toplining Frank Grillo, “Intersection,” the new thriller from Luc Besson’s EuropaCorp, weighs in for even less.

“The contraction of budgets started a while ago: The entire industry had to get much smarter about budgets,” said Alison Thompson at Focus Features Intl.

Sales agents and distributors’ mantra coming into Berlin is caution.

That said, “There are still filmmakers that have that ‘je ne sais quoi’ and are bound to attract a good deal of excitement and attention,” said Thompson.

“Buyers continue to look for quality scripts that are commercial stories and well-cast features,” said Julie Sultan of W2, which is shopping “The Drummer” and “Attachment.” “They need to have some of those boxes checked for it to be a low-risk title.”

It will only take a few hot items at the EFM to take some of the cold out of a sub-zero Berlin.