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Jean-Francois Richet’s crime thriller “The Emperor of Paris” has been pre-sold by Gaumont to major territories.

The crime thriller stars Vincent Cassel as Francois Vidocq, a real-life ex-convict who became a police detective during Napoleon’s reign. The cast includes Olga Kurylenko, August Diehl, Freya Mavor, Fabrice Luchini and James Thierée.

Gaumont, which is hosting screenings of the film at AFM, has closed Latin America (California), Germany/Austria (Splendid), Spain (Selecta), China (Suee Media) and South Korea (The Coup/Activers).

Produced by Eric and Nicolas Altmayer’s Mandarin Production (“Saint Laurent”), “The Emperor of Paris” has also been sold to Taiwan (Eagle), Switzerland (Ascot), Greece (Odeon), Benelux (Athena), Portugal (Lusomundo), Hungary (Media Squad), Poland (Akson), Czech Republic and Slovakia (AQS), Romania (Vertical), former Yugoslavia (Blitz), Baltics/CIS (Central Partnership), the Middle East (Four Star) and Turkey (Medyavizyion).

A French adventurer who became a gangster and then the boss of Paris police, Vidocq led a tumultuous life that has inspired authors such as Victor Hugo and Edgar Allan Poe. In “The Emperor of Paris,” set during the height of Napoleon’s reign, Vidocq lies low as a modest cloth merchant after a dazzling escape from a high-security prison. When his criminal past catches up with him, Vidocq makes a pact with local police to clean the streets of Paris of thieves and murderers.

The movie reteams Richet, the director of the “Mesrine” gangster films, with Cassel. Gaumont will be releasing it in France on Dec. 19. Budgeted in the $25 million range, “The Emperor of Paris” is one of the most ambitious French films slated for this year.