Gaga, Avex partner on ‘Initial’ pickup in Japan

'IA' helmers Lau, Mak take on manga adaptation

Media Asia has clinched an all-rights deal for Japan on live-action car-racing drama “Initial D” with Gaga Communications. Pact marks the first time Gaga has teamed with shareholder Avex to buy a movie.

Starting production June 2 and shooting in late August in Japan, the $10 million pic will be helmed by “Infernal Affairs” directorial duo Andrew Lau and Alan Mak.

It’s Media Asia’s biggest production ever, said company’s head of distribution Jeffrey Chan.

Pic is based on a Japanese manga comic book, which Avex had already turned into a hugely successful toon TV series and animated features.

The DVD version of the TV series has sold 1.2 million copies, said Avex operating officer Taka Nagasawa.

Closed Wednesday at Cannes, the deal continues Media Asia’s expansion into non-Hong Kong-based material, Chan added.

Pic will topline Taiwanese pop star Jay Chou with “Infernal Affairs” thesps Edison Chen, Shawn Yue, Anthony Wong and Chapman To.

Gaga will handle theatrical and TV on “Initial,” Avex VHS/DVD and the film’s soundtrack.

Avex’s involvement in distribution ensures, crucially, that the original soundtrack can be used for the live-action movie.

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