'Eagle' soars into Tokyo opening slot

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TOKYO -- Director Izuru Narushim's "Midnight Eagle" has been selected to open the 20th annual Tokyo International Film Festival.

Starring Takao Osawa, Yuko Takeuchi and Hiroshi Tamaki, the thriller is about a stealth aircraft that disappears in the mountains of northern Japan while still carrying a bomb with enormous destructive power.

"We decided to lead with 'Midnight Eagle' because it's a large-scale, spectacular movie that is just perfect to open an event as large as this year's TIFF," Mariko Yoshida, a spokeswoman for the festival's organizing committee, said Tuesday. "And we must also point out that this is a joint production between Shochiku and Universal Japan, and that collaboration underlines the importance of this international film festival."

Based on the novel by Tetsuo Takashima, "Eagle" was filmed with the assistance of Japan's military on a budget of $10 million.

The festival runs Oct. 20-28, though "Eagle" will make its world premiere Oct. 2 in Los Angeles, with Shochiku apparently hoping to attract attention ahead of the American Film Market in Santa Monica.

The TIFF screening will be the title's domestic debut, though the companies have decided to move its theatrical release from December to Nov. 23.
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