'Sex & Zen 3D' Sells to China Lion for North America

11 FEA Filmart 3D Sex and Zen


3D doesn’t get more rousing than this stereoscopic reinterpretation of an erotic Chinese novel, repped by One Dollar Distribution. The film occupies its own booth at Filmart 2011, with an invitation-only market screening of the full 3D version off-site on March 22.

The erotic Ming Dynasty drama broke box office records in Hong Kong.

CHENGDU, China – Sex and Zen 3D: Extreme Ecstasy will be unveiled to North America, China Lion Film Distribution told The Hollywood Reporter on Wednesday, noting a release date for the Chinese erotic blockbuster had yet to be determined.

China Lion bought what producers called “the world's first 3D erotic film" --  whose cast includes Japanese porn stars -- after seeing its Hong Kong opening day gross of $351,000 beat the record previously set by Avatar and watched the film go on to sell out its entire first week in Hong Kong.

China Lion concluded the deal at Cannes for the erotic Ming Dynasty costume drama adapted from the classical Chinese novel The Carnal Prayer Mat with Hong Kong-based seller Pegasus Motion Pictures.

"It is just like being a voyeur near someone's bed," said producer Stephen Shiu Yeuk-Yuen, who also executive produced the film’s predecessor, Sex and Zen.

Both Australia and New Zealand censors let Sex and Zen 3D screen uncut with an R18 rating.

Down under, Sex took in $600,000 on nine screens for a per-screen average of $67,000, or more than six times the per screen average of competitor Scream 4. Over six weeks in Oz, Sex has wrung $1.1 million from local filmgoers, or $122,000 per screen, beating Fast 5 per screen average of $114,000, China Lion said in a statement.

In New Zealand, Sex squeezed an opening week per screen average of $24,000, matching the per screen take of Pirates of Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.

“We’re looking at as wide as possible a release for this groundbreaking film in North America and are currently working with our theatrical partners AMC for the US and Toronto, Cineplex for Vancouver and Consolidated in Hawaii,” China Lion CEO Milt Barlow said. “Announcements are expected in the next few weeks.”

Founded in 2010, China Lion has exclusive agreements to distribute up to 15 Chinese language films a year to cinema exhibitors including AMC and Cineplex in North America; EVENT, Greater Union, Village and Birch Carroll & Coyle in Australia; and EVENT in New Zealand.

Most of China Lion’s releases will be day and date with their premieres in China. However, Sex and Zen 3D will not be likely to get a release in China because censors there frown on films leaning toward racy.