Regional producers prepare to 'Dance'

Japanese comic gets live-action redux

HONG KONG -- Hong Kong's Perfect Beauty International, Warner Bros. Pictures Japan and Japan's Avex Entertainment, Korea's S.M. Entertainment and Singapore's MediaCorp. Raintree Pictures have joined forces to finance "Dance Subaru!" the companies said Thursday.

Hong Kong's Bill Kong ("Lust, Caution") and Japan's Masato Matsuura and Ryuhei Chiba, co-CEOs of Avex Entertainment, are producing the live-action Japanese comic-book adaptation. Hong Kong's Lee Chi-Ngai will direct. Fortissimo Films will handle distribution outside Asia.

Japanese newcomer Meisa Kuroki and Korea's Ara ("Genghis Khan: To the End of the Earth and Sea") star as rival ballerinas vying for glory in Tokyo and Shanghai. Award-winning Japanese actress Momoi Kaori ("Memoirs of a Geisha") plays the lead's mentor.

Now in postproduction, "Dance Subaru!" is scheduled for release in early 2009 in Hong Kong by Edko Films, Warner Bros. in Japan, MediaCorp. Raintree Pictures in Singapore and by S.M. Entertainment in Korea. International sales outside Asia will commence in Cannes.