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‘Thieves’ cops deal for Japan pre-sales

Agreement includes all rights for Malaysia, Indonesia

Hong Kong-based sales and production company Media Asia Distribution has inked an all rights pre-sales deal for Japan with the Comstock Organization on Feng Xiaogang’s “A World Without Thieves.”

The agreement, the biggest deal in the pic’s rollout in Asia, includes all rights deals for Malaysia (GSC) and Indonesia (P.T. Teugh) and theatrical/DVD accords for Taiwan (Deepjoy Entertainment) and Singapore (Shaw Renters).

“The deals mean that the film has gone into profit before it opens theatrically,” said Media Asia head of distribution Jeffrey Chan.

Chan is arranging private screenings for buyers at the AFM for the second-phase rollout of the film beyond Asia.

“World” exemplifies a strong market trend seen at the AFM: Asian directors with strong local audience bases are attempting to reach out to wider markets.

One of China’s most popular helmers, Feng Xiaogang made his mark as an uncomplicatedly commercial director specializing in local Chinese satirical comedies.

In contrast, “World” is toplined by an international star — “Infernal Affairs” topliner Andy Lau. It uses CGI f/x and borrows from U.S. movies in its story of a Bonnie and Clyde-style couple who swindle their way across China. And it is produced by one of the region’s prime exporters, Media Asia.

“This is the first film from Feng Xiaogang which is distributed independently in international terms. It’s an attempt to go beyond his indigenous culture, tapping into a company with international export expertise. The market response suggests he’s been successful,” Chan said.

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