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Weinstein Launches Fund for Asian-Themed Films

8 Aug, 2007 By: Erik Gruenwedel

The Weinstein Co. has initiated a $285 million fund for the development, acquisition and distribution of 11 theatrical and 10 direct-to-video Asian-themed films.

Weinstein is majority owner of DVD distributor Genius Products.

Last year, Weinstein launched Dragon Dynasty, a label the New York-based company hoped would become the largest holder and distributor of Asian DVDs in North America.Weinstein has an office in Hong Kong and recently hired David Lee as EVP of Asian operations to oversee the creative aspects of the fund.

Genius also has a deal to distribute all Asia Extreme product from Tartan Video, including catalog and future releases.

With the intention of delivering Asian fare with significant production value and Western sensibility, initial titles include a live-action version of Mulan, a remake of the 1956 Academy Award-nominated The Seven Samurai, and the action adventure Shanghai, about an American who returns to Japanese-occupied Shanghai during World War II to discover the death of his friend and uncover the mysteries surrounding it.

The fund also will help produce separate untitled projects with actor Tony Jaa (The Bodyguard 2), “24” producer Tony Krantz and Internal Affairs co-director Andrew Lau.

Forbidden Kingdom, the 2008 theatrical co-release with Lionsgate, features the first pairing of Jackie Chan and Jet Li on the big screen. The movie is about a kung fu-obsessed American teen who ends up in China where he joins a band of martial arts warriors.

“The film world has become increasingly global and through this fund, we will be able to work on daring projects with the region's most creative filmmakers and movie stars and partner with some of Asia's most dynamic talent — both behind and in front of the camera,” Bob and Harvey Weinstein said.

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