Japanese pix find Pathfinder

Pact includes acquisition of 20 titles for theatrical, DVD release

NEW YORK — Los Angeles-based Pathfinder Pictures has formed a joint distribution alliance with Japanese unit Klockworx Co. to release films in the U.S. market, starting with cult director Takashi Miike’s crazed yakuza horror comedy “Gozu.”

The Pathfinder/Klockworx label will acquire up to 20 titles per year for theatrical and DVD release, with total budgets for acquisition and P&A in the $7 million-$10 million range.

Pathfinder will continue to release its own titles on its solo label. Company recently completed production on the drama “Until the Night,” with Norman Reedus, Kathleen Robertson and Sean Young. Previous releases have included Abel Ferrara’s “‘R Xmas” and martial arts pic “Master of the Flying Circus.”

Pathfinder is also planning theatrical releases of two other films by prolific Japanese maverick Miike, “Agitator” and “Andromeda.”

Klockworx scored its first success in Japan with “The Blair Witch Project.” More recent releases have included “The Triplets of Belleville,” “Shaolin Soccer” and Thai hits “The Eye” and “Iron Ladies.” Distrib also will release Sundance docu “Super Size Me” and Sam Raimi-produced horror pic “The Grudge,” with Sarah Michelle Gellar, which Sony has in the U.S.

Klockworx co-produced “Gozu,” which premiered in the Directors Fortnight last year at Cannes. The blackly comic thriller traces a young gangster’s mind-bending odyssey after being ordered to erase the senior partner who once saved his life. Pic will open in New York and Los Angeles in June.

Overall deal was negotiated by Klockworx prexy-CEO Nobuhiko Sakoh, managing director Kana Koido, senior exec VP Itaru Fujimoto and Pathfinder managing director Taka Arai and head of distribution and acquisitions Gregory Hatanaka.

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