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‘Infernal Affairs’ pix cop back-to-back bows

Chan sez close release dates to 'help sustain publicity'

HONG KONG — In a rare move, Media Asia will release the next two installments of last year’s crime thriller hit “Infernal Affairs” practically back-to-back.

Expecting the second film’s publicity to feed into the third, the prequel will unspool in theaters beginning Oct. 1, a public holiday, and the sequel Dec. 12, right before the Christmas holidays.

“When we worked on the scripts, we worked on the two of them together,” said Jeffrey Chan, head of distribution and sales for Media Asia. “It’s not common to release movies together, but we thought, why not? It will help to sustain publicity.”

“Infernal Affairs 2,” produced by Media Asia with two investors, Singapore’s Raintree Pictures and China’s Eastern Dragon, is in post-production. The prequel sees the return of original cast members Anthony Wong, Eric Tsang, Edison Chen and Shawn Yue.

“Infernal Affairs 3,” solely produced by Media Asia, is expected to start shooting in early September in Hong Kong. Tony Leung Chiu-wai and Andy Lau will reprise their roles, with Leon Lai (“Three”) a new addition.

The budgets for the two movies, both co-directed by Andrew Lau and Alan Mak, total $11.5 million. “Infernal Affairs” is expected to be Hong Kong’s Oscar entry for foreign-language film, to be announced Tuesday. The drama was last year’s biggest critical and box office hit.