Miramax’s heading into ‘Infernal’ region

Pact includes North America, Italy, Spain, Latin America

Miramax Films has acquired rights in North America and several other territories to high-octane police actioner “Infernal Affairs,” which together with a subsequently released prequel, broke box office records in its native Hong Kong.

Directed by Andrew Lau and Alan Mak and headlined by Asian superstars Andy Lau and Tony Leung, the tightly wound thriller centers on two Hong Kong police officers — one a gang mole on the force and the other an undercover cop in the gang — who share the same objectives and who find their destinies intertwined.

Miramax exec VP of acquisitions Agnes Mentre announced the deal for North America, Italy, Spain and Latin America, excluding Mexico. The film screened earlier this year in the New Directors/New Films festival in New York; the Miramax pickup is understood to have been brewing for some time.

Won seven Hong Kong nods

Winner of seven Hong Kong Film Awards including best director, actor and supporting actor, the film grossed more than $7.1 million domestically. The prequel, “Infernal Affairs 2,” recently grossed $3.9 million in its first 24 hours. Miramax has announced no plans to acquire the second installment.

“This is a stylish thriller that has become an instant classic,” said Miramax senior VP of acquisitions Matt Brodlie, who brought the film to the distrib with the company’s Hong Kong-based acquisitions and co-production consultant Dede Nickerson. “We are very happy to be bringing this to audiences around the world.”

“We’re extremely delighted that we have an agreement with Miramax, who has committed to bring the film to the U.S. theatrical market,” said Jeffrey Chan, head of distribution and sales at Media Asia.

Deal was negotiated by Miramax VP of business and legal affairs Barry Littman and Nickerson, with Chan and Nansun Shi, senior consultant to the chairman, representing Media Asia.

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