<p class="MsoNormal">Asian studios ignore market drop </p>


HONG KONG -- Despite Asian markets taking a hit earlier this week with more tremors possible out of Wall Street, confidence in local markets remained high among Hong Kong Filmart exhibitors Tuesday.

Monday saw bourses across Asia reacting to JP Morgan Chase’s purchase of Bear Stearns for a mere $2 per share, pennies on the dollar compared to its closing value Friday. The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index lost about 5% of its value, losing another 2.5% Tuesday. India’s Bombay Stock Exchange Sensitive Index also finished off about 6%, with other markets down slightly.

Despite the SEHK’s drop, local production houses took the news in stride. Universe Entertainment’s managing director Daneil Lam said the stock market decline has no impact on the company's investment in "The Stormriders II" or any other future projects. Although a listed company, its stock price was not affected by the decline.

Albert Lee, CEO of Emperor Motion Pictures, said the drop had no direct impact on the market yet. "Projects took years to set up, they were not and could not be affected by day to day changes," Lee said.

Exhibitors from other markets less affected by the recent fluctuations echoed their Hong Kong counterparts’ sentiments. "I don't think we have seen any impact from the economic problems," said Gen Mizoguhi, of the International Sales and Purchasing Division of Toei Co. "U.S. buyers do not usually come to Hong Kong so I do not think much will change this year, although it may be more visible in Cannes."

However, one American who attended Filmart saw his country’s currency woes as causing bigger problems than its stock markets. U.S. economic problems are "having no effect here. What [the weakening dollar] is really going to effect is MIPTV and Cannes,” said Michael George, managing director of U.S.-based MTG Media.

Karen Chu, Mark Russell and Julian Ryall contributed to this report.