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Berlin: IM Global Sells Much of the World on ‘Hacksaw Ridge’

Directed by Mel Gibson, starring Andrew Garfield World War II epic proves one of the major marquee draws at Berlin

Mel Gibson Gary Oldman Karlovy Vary
Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic

Substantiating its status as one of the big commercial pics at this year’s European Film Market, IM Global’s Mel Gibson-directed “Hacksaw Ridge,” a heroic World War II epic, has sold out large parts of the world either in aggressive bidding and dealmaking before the market or directly in Berlin.

IM Global has also completed a high volume of deals not only on “Hacksaw” but also on the finished versions of “A Walk in the Woods,” “Sleeping With Other People” and “Max Steel,” which was screening at Berlin, IM Global CEO Stuart Ford said.

“We’re very happy indeed with the state of play given the overall market situation,” Ford told Variety Sunday night.

Inspired by the true-life story of conscientious objector Desmond Doss, played by Andrew Garfield, “Hacksaw Ridge” saw banner distributor deals in major markets with Universum (Germany), Andrea Leone (Italy), DeaPlaneta (Spain), Mis Label (Scandinavia) and Pancinema (Korea). Sun Distribution has snatched up rights to Mexico, Brazil and Latin American pay-TV, and most, although not all, the rest of Latin America.

A handful of major territories — one candiate is key international English-language markets, for instance — are believed to be in play as part of ongoing U.S. studio discussions so did not close at Berlin.

In multi-territories deals, Apsara has closed Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Asian pay TV. Freeman Entertainment has acquired Hungary, Romania, ex-Yugoslavia, Poland and Bulgaria. Entertainment in Motion (Airlines), United King (Israel), M-NET (South Africa), Cinema 21 (Indonesia), Impuls (Switzerland) Spentzos (Greece), Pinema (Turkey), Applause (Taiwan), AQS (Czech/Slovak) and Bravos (Hong Kong) count among further buyers.

There are “active negotiations going on in several territories still,” said Ford. The deals to date, however, given the challenges of the international market — Euro devaluation, Russia, restrictions on distribution in China, slumping ancillary sales — are ones which most sales agents can only dream of.