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H'wood on the Seine.

France has not always bean an easy market for Americans in Paris.

TFM: Miramax and TF1

Miramax made a splashy entrance into French cinema two years ago when it announced a partnership with Gaul's TF1 at the Cannes Film Festival to create distrib TFM.

Since then the joint venture has released over a dozen films hare, including Quentin Tarantino's "Kill Bill Vol. 1," which grossed over $10 million in France, and most recently French director Frederic Schoendoefffer's "Secret Agents," which had pocketed $4 million by its second week in Gaul.

TF1 and Miramax have co acquired French rights to several films including "The Aviator" and "I'm Not Scared." While the partners promised last year that co-production wasn't far away, there have yet to be any developments on that front.

Columbia TriStar/Buena Vista Intl./Gaumont

in a move that reshaped the landscape of the Gallic film biz, Buena Vista Intl. parted ways in January with longtime French distrib partner Gaumont, which then hooked up with Col TriStar, a move that has sparked talk of local production deals.

Disney, now single in Gaul, has dismissed the idea of folio wing in tire footsteps of Warner Bros. to set up its own French production company.

Still, while Buena Vista says that there are no local co-productions in the works, company is interested in exploring just that sort of opportunity. It made a foray into French co-production last summer with the pic "Who Killed Pamela Rose," which notched up almost 900,000 admissions in France.

As for Gaumont Columbia TriStar, it now has its sights set on July 14, when the new distrib will release its first pie, "Spider-Man 2," in Gaul.

UFD: Fox and UGC

UFD, the joint-distribution venture between Fox and UGC, soldiers on. The distrib saw the success of the French comedy "Tais toi," which grossed over $18.5 million in Gaul in 2003 as well the surprise hit "7 Years of Marriage," which took home $9.7 million last year.

So far, 2004 has turned in the disappointing performance of "Blueberry," the $46 million French pie that took home $3.89 million locally. Potential bright spots on the horizon for" the Fox joint venture include the release of "Garfield" in August as well as French comedy "The Daltons," based on popular" comicbook characters, in December.

Focus Features/ Liaisons Films

Universal specialty unit Focus Features has a first-look, multi-year deal with Stephane Sperry's Liaisons Films. Its first two projects are Pascal Laugier's thriller "Saint-Ange," and "Assault on Precinct 13," with Why Not Prods. and directed Jean-Francois Richer.

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Title Annotation:French Cinema; Hollywood
Author:Klaussmann, Liza
Publication:Variety
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 10, 2004
Words:427
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