Company nabs rights to first installment

ROME — RAI Cinema has acquired rights for Italy to "The Golden Compass" from New Line.
First installment in the trilogy, which echoes "The Lord of the Rings," will be a Christmas 2007 Italian release, shortly after the $150 million Chris Weitz-directed pic starring Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig debuts Stateside via Warner Bros.

Purchase for an undisclosed multi-million dollar sum is believed to be the highest investment ever made for a film by RAI Cinema, whch is the film unit of pubcaster RAI. Via its 01 Distribuzione arm, RAI Cinema in 2006 commanded a 10% share of the Italian market, ahead of Sony and Warner Bros.