April 16, 2008
New York – Ahead of the release of The Forbidden Kingdom, the first film from The Weinstein Company’s (TWC) US$285million Asian Film Fund, TWC unveiled plans to finance the development, production, acquisition, marketing and distribution of new Asian-themed films including action epic Shanghai, and a contemporary remake of Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai. Starring Asian martial arts artistes Jackie Chan and Jet Li, The Forbidden Kingdom opens in Asia including Singapore, South Korea and Hong Kong in the month of April, and will debut in the US on April 18 in over 3000 theaters. The film will be co-released by TWC and Lionsgate in the UK, Spain, France and Latin America. To be directed by Mikael Håfström, Shanghai will feature a story set in 1941 China and star John Cusack, Gong Li and Ken Watanabe. Shooting will commence May 5, 2008 in London and is expected to move to Thailand and China. The film is slated for release in North America on Christmas day in 2008. TWC is in final negotiations to confirm the director for Seven Samurai, and has engaged in preliminary talks with the potential cast which will include American, European, and Asian stars. The shoot is being planned for Q4, 2008 with the film to be released in 2009. Launched in August 2007, TWC’s Asian Film Fund aims to provide international filmmakers with ‘a global voice’. More Asian-themed films are expected to be added to TWC’s three-film slate.