Distrib/investor replaced by CJ Entertainment

Korean helmer Kim Jee-woon’s epic Western “The Good, the Bad, the Weird” is changing horses in mid-production, with distributor/investor Showbox pulling out to be replaced by rival studio CJ Entertainment.

CJ is reportedly nearing a deal to finance and distribute both Kim’s big-budget pic and grisly horror title “Hansel and Gretel,” which is also in production. Both films are produced by Barunson Co. and sold internationally by Cineclick Asia.

The unusual development has the local industry buzzing, with some questioning whether financing was an issue for Showbox.

“The Good” checks in at close to an $11 million budget, considered a high risk especially given a slackening of interest in Korean films in Japan. The $4.5 million “Hansel and Gretel,” meanwhile, has seen its production schedule lengthen since opening shooting.

Nonetheless, with three major stars in the lead roles, Kim’s pic ranks as one of the most anticipated Korean films of the coming year.

CJ had been in talks to finance “The Good” in the development stage, but declined due to its high budget.

Change of heart (and, perhaps, terms of investment) will give CJ two of the most high-profile Korean pics on the horizon, together with Park Chan-wook’s vampire film “Evil Live,” currently in the script stage.

Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more