‘Cape’ gains traction in Asia

Astro acquires rights to film

HONG KONG – Like a steam train gathering pace, Taiwanese left field hit and the territory’s foreign-language Oscar contender “Cape No. 7,” is gaining serious traction around Asia.

All Asia Multimedia Network FZ-LLC, a content aggregation arm of the pan-regional pay-TV group Astro All Asia Networks PLC has acquired rights to the pic in Malaysia and Brunei from int’l sales firm Good Film Workshop. Company will release the pic in Malaysia on Christmas Day (Dec 25).

Pic opened as the top film this weekend in Hong Kong, earning a four day take of HK$2.01 million ($259,000) from a mid-sized release on only 23 screens through Lighten Distribution.

At home in Taiwan, the have-a-go story of a despondent musician who finds his groove with a band of eccentric amateurs had a slow start but has played on to become the second biggest film of all time at the Taiwanese box office, behind “Titanic.” In its continuing two month run it has grossed NT460 million ($13.8 million) to date.

Pic is now getting the blockbuster treatment in Singapore ahead of an 11 print release Thursday through Festive Films and Cathay Keris Films.

Stars Van Fan, Tanaka Chie and Shino Lin, better known as musicians than actors, are skedded to do three days of promotions in Singapore with set pieces including an open-top bus tour, appearances at a shopping mall and a gala preem at the Cineleisure Orchard theater. Director Wei Te-sheng did press interviews in Singapore three weeks ago.

“We are expecting a lot,” film publicist Flora Goh said. “That it has been such a breakout hit in Taiwan is a major selling point. And we have had several screenings here that have confirmed its appeal. The public has loved it.”

Pic is also set for release in China through dominant distribber China Film Group, though release date is not yet confirmed. Permission is a surprise given that most films from Taiwan, which China regards as a renegade province, do not get approval. Pic also contains a significant sub-plot involving a romance between a Taiwanese woman and a Japanese teacher in the 1940s, a time when the island was under Japanese occupation.

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