Miramax becomes Chow-hound

Acquires rights to comedian's laffers

CANNES — Miramax Films has acquired worldwide distribution rights, outside of a few Asian territories, to the Chinese-language comedy “Shaolin Soccer,” directed by and starring Hong Kong action-comedy star Stephen Chow, as well as worldwide rights to two of Chow’s hit comedies, the 1996 “The God of Cookery” and the 1999 “The King of Comedy.”

Miramax will handle the North American theatrical release of all three titles.

“Soccer,” produced by Universe Entertainment and The Star Overseas, tells the story of a rag-tag team of soccer players who use their kung-fu ability to become winners. Pic is currently in post in Hong Kong.

A “God of Cookery” remake has long been eyed by Jim Carrey as a star vehicle, with rights held by John Davis’ 20th Century Fox-based Davis Entertainment. Pic is now in development at Fox with Jay Roach attached to direct.

“Cookery” is the story of the world’s greatest cook who has been made so obnoxious by his fame that his colleagues bump him from his television show. The cook then must figure out a way to return to the top.

In “King of Comedy,” broadly inspired by Martin Scorsese’s pic of the same name, Chow portrays a would-be actor who has studied his craft but can’t even cut it as an extra. Jackie Chan has a cameo in the pic.

“(Chow) is amazingly funny and we look forward to developing new projects with him in the future,” said Andrew Herwitz, Miramax senior VP acquisitions.

Herwitz, along with senior VP acquisitions Matt Brodlie and Dede Nickerson, Miramax’s Asian consultant, negotiated the deal on behalf of the company. Yeung Kwok-Fai negotiated on behalf of Universe Entertainment and The Star Overseas.