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Toronto TOLDJA!: CBS Films Closes U.S. Deal On ‘Salmon Fishing In The Yemen’

Mike Fleming

UPDATE 2, 7:03PM: CBS Films has just issued a press release confirming the acquisition:

TORONTO (September 12) – CBS Films announced today that they have acquired the U.S.distribution rights to SALMON FISHING IN THE YEMEN which made its world premiere at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival this week. The announcement was made jointly today by CBS Films’ COO Wolfgang Hammer and EV Pof Acquisitions Scott Shooman.
Directed by Oscar©-nominee Lasse Hallström (Chocolat), SALMON FISHING IN THE YEMEN is an extraordinary, beguiling tale of fly-fishing and politicalspinning, of unexpected heroism and late-blooming love and of an attempt toprove the impossible, possible. Ewan McGregor (Beginners) and Emily Blunt (The Adjustment Bureau) star in the feature film alongside Oscar©-nominee Kristen ScottThomas (I’ve Loved You So Long).

Based on Paul Torday’s acclaimed novel, SALMON FISHING IN THE YEMEN is written by Oscar©-winner Simon Beaufoy (Slumdog Millionaire) and produced by Paul Webster (The Motorcycle Diaries) and executive produced by Jamie Laurenson, Stephen Garrett, Paula Jalfon, Zygi Kamasa and Guy Avshalom.
“I am so happy to have the support of the team at CBS Films for the distribution of our labor of love, ‘Salmon Fishing in the Yemen. ’I had the best of times working on it with producer Paul Webster, writer Simon Beaufoy and the cast, Emily Blunt, Ewan McGregor, Amr Waked and Kristin Scott Thomas,” said Hallström.

“Lasse Hallström has done it again with this beautiful, heartwarming, and elegant picture. The performances are amazing from top to bottom,” commented Shooman who continued, “We are honored to have the opportunity to bring this extraordinary film to American audiences.”

UTA Independent Film Group set up the film’s financing and brokered the dealwith CBS Films.

 

UPDATE, 6:11PM: The deal has closed, and CBS Films has acquired U.S. rights to Salmon Fishing in the Yemen. Sources close to the buyer say it’s the $4 million that the sellers asked for, while sources close to the seller say it’s $5 million. Summit got the deal to that level. What’s clear is this is a healthy deal.

EARLIER EXCLUSIVE, 12:26 PM: CBS Films is in advanced negotiations to reel in U.S. distribution rights to Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, the Lasse Hallstrom-directed film that premiered last night at the Princess of Wales Theater. Fox Searchlight, Summit, Focus and Miramax have been circling, but CBS appears to be tying down the property for a low-seven-figure deal. Adapted by Simon Beaufoy from the Paul Torday novel, the film stars Ewan McGregor, Emily Blunt, Kristin Scott Thomas and Amr Waked, the latter playing a wealthy sheik who pays a fisheries scientist to stock a stream with trout. The sheik believes that fishing brings him closer to God, an experience he wants to share with his countrymen, despite the dangerous fact that some local leaders oppose it; there is a burgeoning love story between his British legal rep (Blunt) and the stuffy fisheries scientist (McGregor) who is locked in a dull marriage. Read More »

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Netflix Makes Pay Deal With Lionsgate UK As Streaming Company Prepares For UK Launch

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: In a clear signal that Netflix is preparing for a major expansion into the UK, the streaming company has made what I believe to be its first content deal with a film company there. My sources tell me that Netflix has signed a multi-year exclusive output deal for first pay TV rights with Lionsgate UK. Netflix would not comment, nor would Lionsgate UK, but this pact sets the stage for what will be the first competition that Rupert Murdoch’s Sky has faced in the pay TV movie business in the UK for over a decade.

It is also a deal that gives Lionsgate UK CEO Zygi Kamasa an opportunity to take his company to the next level with a state-of-the-art pay TV deal that will kick in when Netflix opens for UK business. Like Lionsgate in the US, Lionsgate UK is part of the Lionsgate Group, but it operates autonomously under Kamasa, financing film productions and making acquisitions for the UK theatrical and ancillary marketplace. The company’s recent film acquisitions have included The Hurt Locker, The Mechanic and the Ralph Fiennes-directed Coriolanus. Lionsgate UK has also been getting more aggressive in generating British product. It recently completed production on the second film it fully financed, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen. The Lasse Hallstrom-directed film stars Ewan McGregor, Emily Blunt and Kristin Scott Thomas, and it premieres at next month’s Toronto Film Festival.

Netflix has so far announced it will make its first … Read More »

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