(July 16, 2001 - Paris, France) - Warner Bros. Pictures France has partnered with noted director Jean-Marie Poire’s Okay Films to produce the French-language comedy “Ma Femme S’Appelle Maurice” (“My Wife’s Name is Maurice”), based on the highly successful stage play of the same name. The co-production was announced today by Francis Boespflug, Managing Director, Warner Bros. Pictures France, and Igor Sikulic, President, Okay Films. Poire, one of the most prolific and successful French filmmakers in history, will direct the film from a script he co-wrote with the play’s author, Raffy Shart. Production will start in the next few weeks, and the film is expected to be released in France the third quarter of 2002. Poire has co-written and directed a number of the most popular and successful French films ever, including “Les Visiteurs” (“The Visitors”), “Couloirs de Temps: Les Visiteurs 2” (“The Visitors 2: Corridors of Time”), “Les Anges Gardiens” (“Guardian Angels”) and “Papy Fait de la Resistance” (“Grandpa Joined the War”). He’s also written a number of screenplays directed by others and served as a producer on a number of films. Boespflug will serve as Warner Bros. Pictures’ production liaison on “Ma Femme S’Appelle Maurice” with Fabienne Tsai, who, with Boespflug, oversees development and production for Warner Bros. Pictures in France. Richard Fox, Executive Vice President, International, Warner Bros., Lorenzo di Bonaventura, President, Worldwide Production, Warner Bros. Pictures, and Simona Benzakein, Vice President, European Production, Warner Bros. Pictures will be involved with the film through their oversight of all of Warner Bros. Pictures’ international theatrical production and acquisition endeavors. “Poire is certainly one of the most accomplished and prestigious European filmmakers working today,” said Boespflug. “To be in business with him is decidedly an honor and a real coup for Warner Bros. Pictures France.” “Poire’s credentials speak for themselves,” said di Bonaventura. “Working with a filmmaker of this caliber is highly rewarding and creates a working relationship with a remarkable artist that could potentially make important contributions to our U.S. film activities.” “By aligning ourselves with such a revered and iconic French talent as Poire, we not only meet our objective of being involved with a top quality, locally produced film, but we also immediately become part of France’s fabric and culture,” said Fox. “As European audiences demand more and more localized content, we intend to fulfill this need with high-quality product that we have either co-produced or acquired for distribution with a local partner.” This co-production deal is the latest in a number of recent international production and acquisition activities by Warner Bros. Pictures, including “La Verité si je mens! 2” (one of the most successful French films ever), the start of the Warner Bros. Pictures/La Petite Reine co-production “Le Boulet,” the acquisition of rights to the 2001 Cannes Palm D’ Or-winning Italian film “La Stanza del Figlio” (“The Son’s Room”) for Spain, Latin America and Japan, and Warner Bros. Pictures Germany partnering with German film industry leader X-Filme in a long-term, multi-faceted production and distribution agreement covering up to 20 films.
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