Shaw looking good

Movie co. expanding prod'n, distrib'n

HONG KONG — Celestial Pictures, the Hong Kong-based movie arm of Malaysian satcaster Astro All Asia Networks, is expanding production and distribution.

It’s planning to produce two or three remakes of properties from the Shaw Brothers library, which it owns.

Gordon Cheung, exec VP for acquisitions and distribution, said company will work with outside producers, similar to the setup for Peter Chan Ho-sun’s musical romance “Perhaps Love,” which was produced in China with the L.A.-based Ruddy Morgan Organization and Chan’s Applause Pictures.

Celestial retained international sales and pay TV rights on the pic, which won six awards Saturday at the Hong Kong Film Awards.

Celestial has acquired nearly a dozen Japanese and Korean titles for local distribution, with Shochiku’s ninja actioner “Shinobi” to bow in May in Hong Kong.

It also has struck all-rights deals for U.S. movies including Samuel L. Jackson starrer “Snakes on a Plane,” from New Line, and Brad Pitt-Cate Blanchett drama “Babel,” from Summit Entertainment.

The team wants to build up a library of new movies for Celestial’s distribution network and to feed the group’s five TV channels, which are soon to expand to seven.

In addition to film production, Celestial also has begun producing upscale costume dramas in China for its WaTV infotainment web.

Celestial has streamlined its marketing departments. Three teams are being put under one umbrella headed by Jessica Kam, VP of marketing and sales. Mee-Wah Tan, previously VP for marketing and sales of the Celestial Movie Channels, will move to Indonesia to head content marketing for Astro’s paybox there.

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