John Carney's 'Begin Again' Secures 2014 China Theatrical Release

Ivanhoe Pictures and Beijing Galloping Horse say the movie starring Mark Ruffalo and Keira Knightley will get a Chinese quota slot this year

Beijing Galloping Horse Film Co. and Ivanhoe Pictures have announced that the John Carney-directed music-driven independent film Begin Again has obtained a quota slot for this year and will screen in the world's second-biggest film market.

The remaining six slots of the 32 quota films were reportedly filled already, but it is possible that an exception was made as Begin Again is an independent film with strong non-Hollywood elements, such as an Irish director and European cast.

The movie features Mark Ruffalo, Keira Knightley in a singing role, and Adam Levine making his feature debut as an actor. Begin Again is a comedy about a music business executive who forms a bond with a young singer-songwriter new to Manhattan. 

"Its universal themes and stirring music can be appreciated across every culture," said Ivanhoe Pictures CEO and former Greene Street head John Penotti. The group picked up the rights to the movie at Cannes this year.

"Building on the momentum of the film’s win for best music at this year’s Shanghai International Film Festival, we could not be more thrilled to now bring Begin Again to the general public in China."

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A release date is forthcoming, the companies said in a statement.

Begin Again premiered at the 2013 Toronto Film Festival, making several stops on the festival circuit before opening successfully in various international territories, including Korea, where it has become the highest-grossing English-language independent film of all time. 

People love singing shows in China, and one of the top TV programs is The Voice of China.

Carney wrote and directed Once (2006), a hit in China.

Ivanhoe was launched last year by international financier Robert Friedland, Penotti and Ray Chen of Beijing Premiere Media to explore film-financing opportunities in America and Asia. The company also is involved in developing a movie version of Kevin Kwan’s debut novel Crazy Rich Asians.

Read more Tribeca: 'Begin Again' Stars Keira Knightley and Adam Levine Talk Challenges of Singing, Acting

Last year Ivanhoe announced a $130 million co-financing pact with Fox International Productions, concentrating on select local language pictures in China, India, Korea, Japan and Taiwan. More recently, the company commenced a deal in partnership with Blumhouse Pictures and India’s Phantom Films to produce a slate of 10 Hindi-language genre films.

Twitter: @cliffordcoonan