Sundream's in the mood to buy

Studio looks to acquire more Asian films

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HONG KONG -- Sundream Motion Pictures is moving to increase its acquisition of Asian films as part of a strategy to add to its established production and distribution business.

The three-year-old studio has produced "Champions," directed by its president Tsui Siu-ming, and last year's "Plastic City," from director Yu Lik-wai. "Like three legs of a tripod, we hope to fortify our acquisition along with distribution and production, focusing mainly on Asian films," Sundream vp Tom Cheung said.

Sundream has acquired "MW," the live-action adaptation of late Japanese master Osamu Tezuka's comic story. The action thriller was made to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the master's birth and starred Hiroshi Tamaki ("Great Teacher Onizuka") and Takayuki Yamada ("Crying Out Love in the Center of the World").

Having signed an exclusive distribution deal with the Weinstein Co. in 2008, Sundream also has secured the rights for the Rob Marshall-directed musical "Nine" from TWC, which was not included in the initial output deal.

The studio is keeping an eye on acquisition opportunities, particularly from Japan and Thailand.

"Japan produced more than 400 films last year, but only around two dozen were released in the territory," Cheung said. "There's still room for market growth for Japanese films in Hong Kong, so we want to capitalize on that; besides, Japanese films have long been popular in Hong Kong."

For Thai acquisitions, Cheung is eyeing the horror genre. "Thai horror has a steady fan base in Hong Kong," he said.

A subsidiary of i-Cable, Sundream benefits by having a close relationship with its sister business, the i-Cable movie channel. "We negotiate for the television rights right at the beginning," Cheung said.
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