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‘Nativity’ finds berth in Japan

Avex buys rights to Biblical epic Avex buys rights to Biblical pic

Fast-moving Japanese distributor Avex Entertainment has picked up rights to New Line Cinema’s “The Nativity Story,” by Catherine Hardwicke.

Pic, which focuses on the journey to Bethlehem made by Biblical characters Mary and Joseph, is skedded for release in many territories at the beginning of December. But it was unsold in Japan until this week.

In most territories, the movie will release in early or mid December. Avex is planning a wide release for the pic, but will likely wait to release until fall or Christmas 2007.

Acquisitions exec Ken Umehara finally saw “Nativity” at New Line’s private screening on Monday. “I was moved to tears,” he said.

Avex Entertainment, which is part of Avex, a huge music and talent combine, has been a busy buyer at recent markets. It put together an eclectic slate of pics including “Grudge 2,” from Mandate Pictures, “Dave Chapelle’s Block Party” from Focus Features and erotic thriller “The Book Of Revelation,” from Contentfilm.

It also recently moved into the regional production finance arena last month when it opened Avex Asia in Hong Kong.

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