Miramax deals to distrib, remake Shaw pix

Long-term agreement covers 50 library titles

Miramax Films has pacted with Hong Kong entertainment group Celestial Pictures for home entertainment and remake rights to titles from the celebrated Shaw Brothers library, which includes many classics of Chinese-language cinema.

The long-term agreement covers 50 titles from the library to be released on video and DVD by Miramax, plus video-on-demand rights to the entire Shaw collection and English-lingo remake rights to two films.

Fount of inspiration

“The Shaw films are a terrific source of fresh story ideas for new movies,” Miramax co-chairman Harvey Weinstein said. “I’ve had my eye on some of these films for many years.”

Miramax’s 50-title vid distribution deal covers North America, the U.K., Australia and New Zealand, while the VOD pact is for North America exclusively.

The legacy of legendary impresario Run Run Shaw, the collection is considered the most extensive and prestigious Chinese-language film library, including approximately 760 titles, among them “Come Drink With Me,” “The 36th Chamber of Shaolin” and “The One-Armed Swordsman.”

“We’re especially proud of this agreement, because despite the Shaw Brothers producing the world’s biggest and best Chinese film library, most of these great movies have not been made available on homevideo and DVD,” Weinstein said. “I am proud that Celestial has entrusted Miramax to bring these fantastic films to their fans, and especially to broader new audiences.”

Nailing it down

Deal was negotiated for Miramax by Charles Layton, exec VP, office of the co-chairman; Stuart Ford, senior VP of acquisitions and international operations; and VP of business and legal affairs Barry Littman.

Backed by a Malaysia-based media conglom, Celestial is a diversified entertainment company focusing on Asian-language film and television content. Group’s activities include production, distribution and TV networks, among them the recently launched first global Chinese movie channel, Celestial Movies. Films from Hong Kong and China distributed by Miramax include “Ju Dou,” “Chungking Express,” “Farewell My Concubine” and upcoming releases “Hero” and “Shaolin Soccer.”

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