Huayi Bros. draws China 'Blood' rights

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Huayi Bros. Film Investment Co. has landed China distribution rights to "Blood Brothers," a John Woo and Terrence Chang production from CMC Entertainment of Taiwan, executives said Wednesday.

One of the first Asian deals announced at the American Film Market, the inaugural sale of the $10 million, 1930s-set Shanghai action movie marks Woo's return to his native China as a producer, said Felice Bee, Huayi Bros. Features executive manager of sales and co-production.

"We are excited to be bringing the John Woo brand into China even if he isn't directing," Bee said, adding that early footage from shooting showed that director Alexi Tan, a Woo protege, will bring the veteran's spirit to the film.

"Blood" stars Taiwanese actress Shu Qi; her countryman Chang Chen; mainland China actor Liu Ye, who recently played opposite Meryl Streep in "Dark Matter"; and Hong Kong's Daniel Wu, one of the leads opposite Ziyi Zhang in Huayi Bros.' "The Banquet."

Bee said details of Huayi's deal for "Blood" were ironed out between Huayi CEO Wang Zhongjun and CMC with help from CMC adviser Ming Tu of 20th Century Fox at last month's Pusan International Film Festival in South Korea. Liao said that CMC and producer Chang were at AFM to get feedback on early footage from buyers but that they do not expect to make any other territory sales this outing.

"Blood" will finish shooting next month and CMC hopes to have an edited version set to show in May at the Festival de Cannes.

CMC's first film production, director Su Chao-pin's "Silk," also is for sale at AFM. Currently leading Taiwan's boxoffice with 200,000 admissions since Sept. 29, the science-fiction movie about a machine designed to capture ghosts has garnered five nominations, including ones for best picture and best director, at Taiwan's Golden Horse awards, to be presented next month.

CMC, which distributed "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" and "Brokeback Mountain" in Taiwan, will distribute "Blood" to about 300 screens there in cooperation with Fox.
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