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The Hunt for October

Universal Pictures last week announced a deal to acquire a majority interest in October Films, a specialty film label that attracted attention last year by distributing the Oscar-nominated “Secrets and Lies.”

The deal will give Universal Studios Inc. a low-budget film distribution arm, something most other major studios already own. Art-house films such as “The English Patient” and “Sling Blade” generated heavy profits last year for their corporate parents, in addition to critical acclaim and industry awards.

October, founded in 1991, has released such films as “The Last Seduction,” “Breaking the Waves” and this year’s “Lost Highway.” Later this year it will release “Career Girls” from director Mike Leigh and “Kicked in the Head,” which debuted last week at the Cannes Film Festival.

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