Well Go USA to Release Takashi Miike's 'First Love' in North America

Well Go USA
'First Love'

Reviewing the film at Cannes, The Hollywood Reporter's critic described it as a "Tarantino-style roller-coaster ride" that accentuates the cult Japanese director's "lighter comic leanings over his bloodthirsty side."

Well Go USA has acquired all North American rights to cult Japanese director Takashi Miike's bloody rom-com First Love. The film made its world premiere at Cannes last month in the festival's Director's Fortnight sidebar.

Well Go is planning a select U.S. release for First Love later this year, with the digital and home entertainment release scheduled for the first quarter of 2020.

The deal was negotiated by Doris Pfardrescher on behalf of Well Go USA and HanWay Films with ICM Partners on behalf of the filmmakers.

First Love marks the fourth collaboration between U.S. producer Jeremy Thomas (The Last Emperor) and Miike (Blade of the Immortal, Hara-Kiri, 13 Assassins). The film finds the prolific auteur at his most playful and anarchic, in a yakuza stem-winder that blends elements of film noir and romantic comedy. The story follows a young boxer and a call girl, who fall passionately in love while getting innocently caught up in a drug-smuggling scheme over the course of one night in Tokyo.

The Hollywood Reporter's critic Stephen Dalton described the film as a "Tarantino-style roller-coaster ride" that's as "effortlessly enjoyable as ever, accentuating [Miike's] lighter comic leanings over his bloodthirsty side." 

First Love stars Masataka Kubota (Tokyo Ghoul), Nao Omori (Ichi the Killer), Shota Sometani (Samurai Marathon) and newcomer Sakurako Konishi.

"Takashi Miike is one of the most exciting filmmakers working in international cinema today," said Pfardrescher, president and CEO of Well Go USA. "His new film, First Love, continues his extraordinary track record for interesting and provocative films and audiences will be blown away.”

HanWay Films also closed deals in Cannes with Haut et Court (France), Eurovideo (Germany, Austria, Switzerland), Nonstop (Scandinavia), Odeon (Greece), Mars (Turkey), Discovery (Former-Yugoslavia), Paradise (CIS, Baltics) and Frontrow (Middle East).

First Love was written by Masaru Nakamura (Sukiyaki Western Django, The Bird People in China). It is produced by Muneyuki Kii, Jeremy Thomas and Misako Saka and executive produced by Shigeji Maeda, Hidehiro Itoh and Takara Kosugi.

Well Go enjoyed a busy market at Cannes 2019, acquiring an additional trio of edgy titles from Asia, including Hong Kong's Better Days, and Korean films House of Hummingbird and The Gangster, The Cop, The Devil.