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Patrick Goldstein and James Rainey
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Exclusive: Danny Boyle & Fox Searchlight sign long-term deal

June 11, 2009 |  3:52 pm

Dannyboyle

Fresh off his best picture Oscar triumph, "Slumdog Millionaire" director Danny Boyle has signed a three-year deal with Fox Searchlight, which will co-finance and co-distribute the British filmmaker's future films. The director already has identified a possible initial production under the first-look deal, a drama about Aron Ralston, the American mountain climber who amputated part of his arm when it was pinned in a 2003 back-country hiking accident.

Fox Searchlight and Boyle's "Slumdog Millionaire" producing partner, Christian Colson, declined to discuss the pact, and Boyle did not immediately return an e-mail seeking comment. But two people familiar with the deal said that Fox Searchlight will team with Pathe Films, which co-financed "Slumdog Millionaire," as part of the agreement.

Fox Searchlight initially passed on acquiring "Slumdog Millionaire's" domestic distribution rights. But the Fox-owned specialty film label picked the film up when Warner Bros., after shutting down original "Slumdog Millionaire" distributor Warner Independent Pictures, considered either releasing the film straight to video or selling its rights to another distributor. In addition to guiding the 52-year-old Boyle's movie to eight Oscar wins, Fox Searchlight turned "Slumdog Millionaire" into one of the most successful art-house titles of all time, with a domestic gross of more than $141 million. The film won Academy Awards for best picture, director, adapted screenplay, cinematography, editing, score, song and sound mixing.

Boyle's long relationship with the studio includes "28 Days Later," "Millions" and "Sunshine." Under the new deal, Pathe will distribute Boyle's movies in the United Kingdom, Ireland, France and Switzerland. The Boyle pact is among the most important deals made by the studio's new heads, Nancy Utley and Steve Gilula, who were promoted when former studio chief Peter Rice took over Fox Broadcasting in March.

-- John Horn

Photo: Danny Boyle. Credit: Ishika Mohan / Fox Searchlight Pictures

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