Sony nabs Peter Jackson’s super-secret sci-fi project District 9

Sony Pictures Entertainment has acquired North American distribution rights as well as distribution rights in a significant number of foreign territories, including all English speaking territories, to the Peter Jackson produced sci-fi motion picture District 9 from QED International. The announcement was jointly made today by Peter Schlessel, President of Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions Group, and QED International CEO Bill Block.

Academy Award winner Peter Jackson is producing District 9 through his WingNut Films production banner. QED International, the Los Angeles based production, financing and international sales company, is fully financing the film. Jackson’s manager Ken Kamins of Key Creatives is serving as executive producer along with Bill Block.

Neill Blomkamp makes his feature film directing debut with District 9, which he co-wrote with partner Terri Tatchell. The film is scheduled to begin shooting in Spring 2008 in South Africa. Details of the film’s plot are being tightly guarded while pre-production is underway.

Bill Block says, “Amy Pascal, Michael Lynton and Jeff Blake and the entire team at Sony really understand this film and we couldn’t be more excited to be in business with them. They are completely committed to the unique vision Neill and Peter have for District 9.

“We have seen some of Neil’s enormously creative work launching Halo 3 and he is a true talent who understands how to use visual effects in full service of the story. With Peter Jackson and his team at WETA workshop working with Neil, we believe District 9 can be a true event tentpole on our release slate,” said Amy Pascal, Co-Chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment.

Negotiating the acquisition were Peter Schlessel for Sony Pictures Entertainment; Ken Kamins and attorneys Peter Nelson and Eric Suddleson on behalf of Peter Jackson; and Bill Block and Paul Hanson for QED International. Lara Thompson, Senior Vice President of Acquisitions for Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions Group, was also integral in securing the rights to the film for the studio.