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Universal to fly Japan’s ‘Eagle’

Action film to see North America release this year

Universal Pictures has boarded Japanese actioner “Midnight Eagle” and will release the pic in North America this year.

Agreement was struck between Japanese studio Shochiku and Universal Pictures Japan. Deal sees Universal Japan become a co-producer of the Izuru Narushima-helmed pic.

In a first for U, studio is named as manager of a consortium of firms producing a Japanese movie and will see its logo appear in “Midnight Eagle’s” opening credits. Japanese films are regularly bankrolled by a group of firms including theater owners and strategic marketing partners. The “Midnight Eagle” consortium includes 12 companies.

Pic had its world preem Tuesday at Hollywood’s Egyptian Theater and will open the Tokyo Intl. Film Fest this month. It will be released in Japanese theaters by Shochiku in November.

The $10 million actioner sees a standoff between Japan and secret agents from an unknown foreign country, after a U.S. Stealth fighter crashes into a Japanese mountainside. Screenplay is by Yasuo Hasegawa and Kenzaburo Iida based on the novel by Tetsuo Takashima.

Pic boasted massive co-operation from country’s Defense Agency and Ground and Air Self-Defense forces.

It stars Takao Osawa, Yuko Takeuchi, Hiroshi Tamaki, Eisaku Yoshida, Yoshihiko Hakamada, Nao Omori, Ken Ishiguro and Tatsuya Fuji.

“We are very pleased to be part of the Midnight Eagle Partners Consortium and to join in bringing this motion picture to worldwide audiences. We look forward to continuing to develop and expand our involvement with Japanese cinema, and are excited about the potential of this movie,” said Jason Resnick, senior VP and general manager, worldwide acquisitions, for Universal Pictures.

“We’re truly excited to be working with Universal Pictures, not only for the first co-production, which has already been a great experience, but now also for the U.S. release of the film,” said Teruki Matsumoto, managing director of Shochiku’s motion picture operations.