Avex Asia takes bite out of ‘Apple’

Movie arm of music giant adds coin to Li Yu feature

Avex Asia, the new movie arm of Japanese music giant Avex, is investing in “Apple,” a Chinese drama now in production.

Li Yu helms the $3 million story of two couples from contrasting social strata. It stars Hong Kong’s Tony Leung Kar-fai and China’s Fan Bingbing.

Production is by Laurel Films, which previously produced Li’s “Dam Street,” and Chengtian, the Chinese talent management company in which Avex recently bought a 20% stake and which reps Leung in China.

Avex recently set up a Hong Kong office to finance and co-produce movies from outside its native Japan. Operation is headed by Buddy Marini and head of film development Esther Koo. Company will also get input from Ken Umehara, an acquisitions exec previously with Gaga Entertainment and Movie Eye Entertainment.

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