Mexican Connection in Hollywood: Cuaron, Inarritu, and del Toro may strike a deal at Universal

May 7, 2007–Guillermo del Toro, Alfonso Cuaron and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, the Mexican trio of directors who made a splash on last season's awards circuit, are joining forces with Cuaron's younger brother, Carlos, and “Passengers” director Rodrigo Garcia to shop the slate at Universal and other studios. Each helmer would direct one project, with a combined budget of $100 million.

The deal, first reported in the Los Angeles Times, is far from sealed. The three better known helmers are repped by three separate agencies–Gonzalez Inarritu by CAA, Cuaron by William Morris and del Toro by Endeavor, and all three agencies are participating in the negotiations.

Universal released Cuaron's “Children of Men” last year and will release del Toro's “Hellboy 2: The Golden Army” next year; its Focus Features arm distribbed Inarritu's “21 Grams.” During the awards season, del Toro praised Universal production prexy Donna Langley.

The deal's focus on international rights underscores the growing importance of overseas box office to studios. Last year, it jumped 9% to $8.6 billion for the majors. Several studios, Sony among them, are increasing their international productions to meet the growing demand.

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