EXCLUSIVE: CBS Films is in final talks to acquire North American rights to Pavarotti, the Ron Howard-directed feature documentary on the iconic tenor Luciano Pavarotti. The plan is for a theatrical release later this year, sources said.

The film was scripted by Mark Monroe, who recently worked with Howard in the Grammy-winning docu The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years. It is produced by White Horse Pictures’ Nigel Sinclair, Imagine Entertainment’s Brian Grazer, Howard and Michael Rosenberg, and Jeanne Elfant Festa. David Blackman and Dickon Stainer are executive producers.

Universal Muic

Pavarotti remains one of the best-selling recording artists in history with more than 100 million records sold. As a live performer, more than 1.3 billion people tuned in to watch a single performance of The Three Tenors in 1994 and over his career, Pavarotti entertained over 10 million people in 60 countries.

The docu was created from a combination of Pavarotti’s performances, and the filmmakers were granted access to never-before-seen footage to create an intimate portrait of the most beloved opera singer of all time.

Howard committed to direct the film 18 months ago as his follow-up to the lauded Beatles docu. Pavarotti was fully financed by Universal Music Group’s Polygram Entertainment, and is a production of Polygram, Decca Records, Imagine and White Horse.

It was shot using the Dolby Atmos audio technology, to capture Pavarotti’s range in theaters.