Establishing a strong candidate for the biggest Asian pic deal at this year’s Berlin, Korea’s C.J. Entertainment has closed Japanese rights on “Old Boy” helmer Park Chan-wook’s new film, “Sympathy for Lady Vengeance,” with Toshiba Entertainment.
Pic is the final part of a vengeance trilogy kicked off with “Sympathy for Mr Vengeance” (2002) and continued famously by “Old Boy,” which won Cannes’ Grand Prix last year.
Deal is believed to come in at slightly more than half the film’s $6 million budget. It underscores Japan’s now hearty appetite for Korean fare, especially with large DVD potential, after some bigger U.S. pics – “K-19,” “The Core” – underperfed in the country.
Described by C.J. Ent. as a female character-driven psychological thriller with less gore than “Old Boy,” pic marks the return to the big screen after three years TV work of Korean uber-star Lee Young-ae. Lee plays a mid-30s woman with revenge in her heart after she is betrayed and framed for a crime by a male conspirator, loses her daughter and spends 13 years in prison. Choi Min-shik co-stars.
“We are proud to have director Park’s latest movie in our lineup again and believe this will be the pinnacle of his work,” said Toshiba Ent. prexy Tetsuya Kato. Toshiba handled Park’s “Old Boy” and “JSA” in Japan. “I’m very happy to be working with Toshiba which has a deep appreciation of director Park’s films,” added Catherine Park, C.J. Ent’s head of sales and acquisitions.
A raft of major European territories have also been sold on the pic including the U.K. (Tartan Films), Italy (Lucky Red), France (Metropolitan) and Scandinavia (Noble Ent.). Pic started its 12-week shoot in Seoul Dec.1.. The production schedule could well make the film a hot contender for Venice.