Uni, Shochiku to co-release 'Midnight Eagle'


TOKYO  -- The globe logo used by Universal Pictures will be alongside Shochiku's Mount Fuji trademark for the first time ever when their joint project, "Midnight Eagle," is released in the U.S. later in the year.

Universal has acquired the North American rights for the title, which is scheduled to open the Tokyo Film Festival on October. The film received its world premiere at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood on Tuesday and is due to be released in Japan on Nov. 23.

No date has yet been set for the U.S. release, although a spokesman for Shochiku in Tokyo confirmed that it would be very shortly after the Japan release.

"We are truly excited to be working with Universal Pictures, not only for the first ever co-production, which has already been a great experience but now also for the U.S. release of the film," said Teruki Matsumoto, managing director of Shochiku's Motion Picture Operations, at the premiere.

"The film has universal themes, great action sequences and a storyline which is thrilling and emotional," he said. "We believe that the film will also work well in the international marketplace."

Based on a novel of the same title by Tetsuo Takashima, the $10 million thriller was shot with the cooperation of Japan's Ground and Air Self-Defense Forces.

Set in Japan's icy Northern Alps, it is the tale of a frantic race to reach a downed U.S. Air Force Stealth aircraft carrying a secret weapon.

Directed by Izuru Narushima and starring Takao Osawa, Yuko Takeuchi and Hiroshi Tamaki, Universal Pictures Japan, Shochiku and a consortium of 10 other companies are behind the project.

"We are very pleased to be part of the Midnight Eagle Partners Consortium and to join in bringing this motion picture to worldwide audiences," said Jason Resnick, senior vice president and general manager of Worldwide Acquisitions for Universal Pictures.

"We look forward to continuing to develop and expand our involvement with Japanese cinema, and are excited about the potential of this movie," he added.