The Weinsteins Ride 'Wu Xia' For World Outside Asia, France (Cannes)

Cannes Film Festival

The acquisition of Peter Ho-Sun Chan's martial arts noir picture, premiering Saturday, is one of the first big deals at the festival.

CANNES - The Weinstein Company has landed one of the first big deals in Cannes this year, taking worldwide rights outside of Asia and French-speaking Europe for Dragon (Wu Xia), the martial arts film noir from director Peter Ho-Sun Chan (Bodyguards and Assassins), which premieres in a Midnight Screening here Saturday. Dragon stars Donnie Yen, Takeshi Kaneshiro and Tang Wei and features Hong Kong legend Jimmy Wang Yu (One Armed Swordsman) in his first film role in 17 years.

Yen and Wei play a simple papermaker and his wife living in the late Qing Dynasty with their two sons. Their simple life is torn apart when Detective Xu (Kaneshiro) arrives in their village to investigate the death of two bandits killed during a robbery. His questioning dredges up dark secrets that threaten the lives of the entire village.

TWC picked up all rights to Dragon outside of Asia and French-language Europe from WE Distribution. TF1 picked up Dragon for France in an earlier deal. After the critical and box office success of his Bodyguards and Assassins and Warlords producer/director Chan is one of Asia's hottest talents and Dragon is hotly-anticipated.

"During the production, Donnie (Yen) was telling me that Wu Xia becomes more and moor like a Weinstein movie," said Chan. "So it's no coincidence that Harvey likes the film."

For his part, Harvey Weinstein called Chan "true artist and with Wu Xia he has created a dream project, combining two of my favorite genres: film noir and martial arts."

TWC expects to bow Dragon in the U.S. later this year.