Focus on anime, Asian action films

Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment is launching the Destination Films label designed to raise the profile of popular specialty product such as anime and Asian action films.

Columbia will bring out one or two titles on the Destination label each month, with anime theatrical hit “Osamu Tezuka’s Metropolis” its maiden release in the second quarter. Now in limited theatrical release by TriStar Pictures, “Metropolis” recently scored one of the biggest opening weeks ever for an anime feature, earning more than $130,000 on nine screens. It was scheduled for release March 12 on VHS and DVD, but the video release was postponed due to its strong theatrical performance.

Destination will specialize in animation, Asian-produced actioners, concert films and “movies that are not the normal Hollywood fare,” said Benjamin Feingold, president of CTHE and Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group.

Other upcoming Destination releases include “Black Mask 2″ from Hong Kong martial-arts movie master Tsui Hark, and anime feature “Cowboy Bebop: The Movie,” a hit in Japan. Also on the label’s release schedule is Jackie Chan’s 1978 “Drunken Master,” a comic martial arts film.

Many of Destination’s titles will originate from the theatrical release schedules of Sony’s TriStar and Screen Gems banners. Third-party sources include Samuel Goldwyn Films’ theatrical titles.

If the name Destination Films sounds familiar, that’s because it was acquired from a now-defunct indie from which Col used to acquire product. “It’s a broad name that encompasses a lot of things we’re doing,” Feingold said. “And we like it.”

(Daniel Frankel is a reporter for Daily Variety sister publication Video Business. )

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