First U.S. purchase at Venice fest

VENICE — Lions Gate Entertainment has broken the acquisitions drought on the Lido, picking up North American rights to pan-Asian horror triptych “Three … Extremes.” Purchase is the first by a U.S. company at the 61st Venice Intl. Film Festival.

Premiered Monday in Venice’s Midnight lineup, the film groups three macabre tales — “Dumplings,” “Cut” and “Box” — from directors Fruit Chan, Park Chan-Wook and Takashi Miike.

Produced by Applause Pictures, Hong Kong, B.O.M. Film Prods. of Seoul and Kadokawa Pictures, Tokyo, “Three … Extremes” follows commercially successful 2002 horror omnibus “Three,” directed by Kim Jee-woon, Nonzee Nimibutr and Peter Ho-Sun Chan.

That pic, together with Hong Kong horror sequel “The Eye 2″ by Danny and Oxide Pang, was acquired by Lions Gate Films this year from Fortissimo Films, which also handled sales on “Three … Extremes.”

“You can’t say you are focusing on the horror genre without paying close attention to what is happening in Asian cinema,” said Peter Block, Lions Gate Entertainment president of acquisitions and co-productions.

Fortissimo also closed distribution deals on the film with Tartan Films in the U.K., Wild Side Films in France, and A Films for Benelux. Applause Pictures is planning a third horror anthology to complete the trilogy.

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