Asian pic persuasion

Korea 'Lady' expensive in C.J. deal for Japan

BERLIN — Establishing a strong candidate for the biggest Asian pic deal at this year’s Berlin, Korea’s C.J. Entertainment has sold Japanese rights on “Old Boy” helmer Park Chan-wook’s new film, “Sympathy for Lady Vengeance,” to Toshiba Entertainment.

Deal is believed to come in at slightly more than half the film’s $6 million budget. It underscores Japan’s now hearty appetite for Korean fare, especially with large DVD potential, after some bigger U.S. pics — such as “K-19” and “The Core” — underperformed in the country.

Pic is the final part of a vengeance trilogy that kicked off with “Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance” (2002) and continued with “Old Boy,” which won Cannes’ Grand Prix last year.

A female character-driven psychological thriller with less gore than “Old Boy,” pic marks the return to the bigscreen after three years of TV work of Korean superstar Lee Young-ae.

Lee plays a woman with revenge in her heart after she is betrayed and framed for a crime by a male conspirator, loses her daughter and spends 13 years in prison. Choi Min-shik co-stars.

Toshiba handled Park’s “Old Boy” and “JSA” in Japan.

A raft of major territories have been sold on the pic, including the U.K. and North America (Tartan Films), Italy (Lucky Red), France (Metropolitan) and Scandinavia (Noble Entertainment).

Pic started its 12-week shoot Dec. 1 in Seoul. Production sked could well make the film a hot contender for Venice.

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