Sundream, Weinstein Co. plan 'Visit'

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Sundream Motion Pictures is embarking on an output deal with the Weinstein Co. to release their film and video titles in Hong Kong, starting with "The Band's Visit" on April 10.

Sundream will release TWC's titles theatrically but also consider release through parent company iCable's pay TV channels.

"Visit" will open on three Hong Kong screens, followed by "Teeth" on 10 screens and "Sicko" on two. All three have screenings at the upcoming Hong Kong International Film Festival, which began Monday and ends April 6.

According to Nan Wong, Sundream's GM of distribution, the HKIFF screenings help to generate word-of-mouth publicity among the desired audience in a competitive exhibition environment dominated by Hollywood blockbusters.

"The current situation in Hong Kong screen-wise is not really sufficient to support the release of movies. One of the reasons is that the rental for property in H.K. is very high so the exhibitors need to look at the boxoffice and are very cautious," Wong said.

And while Hong Kong has 197 screens, China has about 4,000, providing greater options for distributors and an even greater incentive for Sundream to increase its involvement in China.

"In the past two years, we sold our films to Chinese distributors and we enjoyed the revenue, but in 2008, instead of selling the movies in China, we will be more actively working with the distributor in order to enjoy the benefits of the China market," Sundream vp business development Tom Cheung said.

"At the moment we are looking at the major cities because they have a higher consumption power, but if we want to push up the market of course some day we have to look into the secondary cities," Cheung added.

On the production side, Sundream's new film projects include "The Champions," a co-production with Huayi Brothers, directed by Siuming Tsui and set to begin shooting at the end of March.

Also set to shoot this year is Zhang Yi Bai's "Lost, Indulgence" and Cao Bao Ping's "The Equator of Love and Death."

"The market of Hong Kong itself is not big enough for us to produce more diversified and stronger films, so we have to look into a larger populated market," Cheung said.
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