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Emperor to stand ‘Tall’ with release

Pic to bow in Hong Kong, China, Singapore, Malaysia

HONG KONG — Emperor Motion Pictures is planning a coordinated pan-Asian release for its historical fantasy “A Chinese Tall Story,” kicking off in Hong Kong, China, Singapore and Malaysia Dec. 22.

Thai distrib Sahamongkol will take the pic out a couple of weeks later.

The film was previously titled “A Journey West.”

Hailing from a territory reputed for its quick, low-cost filmmaking, Hong Hong-based EMP is surprisingly happy about the latest element to extend the two-year production schedule and push the budget to $10 million. Firm has signed Japanese composer Joe Hisaishi (“Howl’s Moving Castle,” “Spirited Away”) to pen the score.

“It took over a year of negotiations since I first heard his music in Cannes on those outdoor speakers along the Croisette,” said EMP prexy Albert Lee. “But it will be worth it, as Joe’s name helps us to position the film differently with buyers. They know this is not just some ‘Monkey King’ picture.”

Hisaishi’s involvement will mean, however, that EMP’s new sales arm will not be able to present a complete version of the film at the November American Film Market.

The film is directed by Jeff Lau Chun Wai, co-creator with Stephen Chow (“Kung Fu Hustle”) of two part-epic “A Chinese Odyssey.”

Action choreography is by Corey Yuen, currently directing “Dead or Alive” in China for Impact Pictures, a subsidiary of Germany’s Constantin Films.

Fully funded by EMP, “Tall Story” is structured as a Chinese-Hong Kong co-production in partnership with Huayi Brothers and the Xi’an Studios.

EMP is also finalizing the release this summer of $20 million Jackie Chan vehicle “The Myth,” directed by Stanley Tong.

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