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‘Shinobi’ finds N. American home

FUNimation takes theatrical, DVD and TV rights

TOKYO — FUNimation Entertainment has acquired North American rights, including theatrical, DVD and broadcast, to the ninja actioner “Shinobi” from Shochiku. According to Shochiku sources, FUNimation has not yet set a date for theatrical release, but may release the DVD in the late summer or early fall.

A hit in Japan, where it grossed Y1.4 billion ($12 milion) following its September 2005 release, “Shinobi” features Joe Odagiri and Yukie Nakama as ninjas belonging to rival clans who become lovers and unwilling opponents in a life-or-death contest of martial arts skills.

In a statement, FUNimation prexy Gen Fukunaga described the film as “a great looking piece” and said the company “is researching much wider distribution efforts” for it, including broadcast and theatrical.

“Shinobi” was adapted from “The Kouga Ninja Scrolls,” a best selling novel that also inspired “Basilisk,” an anime series that FUNimation is distributing.

Shochiku has sold “Shinobi” to nearly 20 territories so far, including Korea (IMX); the U.K. (Optimum Releasing); Italy (Mikado); Germany, Austria and Switzerland (I-ON Media); and Australia and New Zealand (Madman Entertainment).

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