Filmart sales heating up

Germany's Splendid snaps up 'Ip Man,' Universe sells 'Eye'

HONG KONG -- Mandarin Films is getting out in front of the pack with a sale of hot buzz title "Ip Man 2," which stars Donnie Yen, to Germany's Splendid Film on Tuesday as sales start to heat up on the Filmart floor.

Mandarin is also in negotiations with buyers from India, Japan, and the U.S. for the US$10 million follow-up to the 2008 hit "Ip Man," which was sold to Singapore, Malaysia and Taiwan prior to Filmart. and rumblings of

Hong Kong's Universe Films has sold the pay TV rights in Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia for their upcoming 2010 releases, the Pang brothers-directed 3D scare fest "Child's Eye" and the Benny Chen-directed US$10 million scifi actioner "City Under Siege," starring Aaron Kwok, to Celestial Pictures. Universe's other offering, "The Detective 2," has closed deal for all rights with Malaysia's Golden Screen. The film's pay TV rights for Malaysia, Indonesia and Burnei have been picked up by Celestial.

The market is generating mostly positive reviews from sales and buyers. "It's busier than last year, the buyers are back, in terms of overall traffic, it's about the same but there are more people with intentions to buy," said Toho GM Takemasa Arita. "The attitude of the Asian buyer is more aggressive."

The general consensus is that the number of buyers from Asia is on the rise, but the fewer Japanese, American and European buyers in town is hurting the deal-making.

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Nevertheless, Taiwan sales agent Good Films Workshop has sold all rights of upcoming thriller "Zoom Hunting," starring Janine Chang ("Murderer"), to Hong Kong's Lighten Distribution, while the TV rights of "The Road Less Traveled," the directorial debut of Jimmy Hung (son of Sammo) which starred Taiwan pop idol Vaness Wu, has been sold to Star TV for Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore and the Philippines.

Star TV has also picked up the pan-Asia pay TV rights for Steve Austin starrer "Damage" and "Hanna's Gold" from U.S. sales rep Joker Films, which also sold all rights for boxing pic "Unrivaled" and vampire flick "Suck" to Thailand's M Pictures.

TV and video rights for 12 films from U.S. sales agent Shoreline were been sold to various Indonesian distributors, including Global TV, Rapi Films, Millenium Visitama and Dorama.

Deals are closing around the market, except in the animation sector, where many complained that the overlap between Filmart and the Tokyo International Anime Fair, which opens today, is depriving them of buyers. "This is a bad year for us," said Taiwan's Momokids Channel sales Ken Choi. "We've made some sales last year, but this year there aren't even meetings -- most of the buyers went to Tokyo instead. I won't be coming back for the last two days of the market, it's a waste of money and a waste of time, let alone for next year."
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