$285 million will finance films for next six years

The Weinstein Co. has taken the wraps off a $285 million fund to fully finance the development, production, acquisition, marketing and distribution of a large slate of Asian-themed films over the next six years.

TWC will retain worldwide distribution and DVD rights in the U.S. Monday’s announcement of the fund’s completion had been tipped months earlier as buzz began in the finance community (Daily Variety, April 26).

The fund will include a diverse mix of theatrical and direct-to-video titles, which will mostly be shot in Asia, explore the region’s unique culture and showcase the talents of leading Asian filmmakers. TWC anticipates producing or acquiring 21 theatrical titles and 10 direct-to-video titles during the term for the fund.

A consortium of banks led and co-arranged by Comerica Bank will provide the senior debt financing. Continental Entertainment Capital and Israel Discount Bank of New York are also participating in the senior debt facility. The mezzanine and equity financing will be provided by Citigroup Global Markets and PMA Capital Management on behalf of investment funds it manages, among others.

TWC will also be an equity investor in the fund, which will finance 100% of production or acquisition costs plus P&A.

Some of the titles to be included under the fund include a live-action version of “Mulan”; a remake of “The Seven Samurai”; action epic “Shanghai”; an untitled Tony Jaa project; a trio of Hong Kong action films, to be shot in English, under TWC’s recently announced deal with “24” producer Tony Krantz and “Infernal Affairs” co-director Andrew Lau; and “Forbidden Kingdom,” which marks the first onscreen pairing of martial arts superstars Jackie Chan and Jet Li.

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