Japan’s ‘Hero’ goes wide in Asia

Film stars Japanese star Takuya Kimura

“Hero,” Fuji TV’s suspense/drama about a rebel prosecutor that will open in Japan on Sept. 8, is also getting a wide release in Asia.

The pic, which stars Japanese megastar Takuya Kimura in the prosecutor role, will open in South Korea on Oct. 25 on 250 screens — a local record for a Japanese pic.

The pic will bow in Hong Kong on Oct. 18, as well as in Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia. “Hero” will open on 20 screens or more in each of these territories, a large number given the small local market share of Japanese pics. The pic will not be dubbed on the assumption that fans will want to hear Kimura’s voice.

“Hero” is based on a Fuji TV series, starring Kimura as a rule-breaking delinquent-turned-prosecutor, that racked up stupendous 30-plus ratings for every episode when it was broadcast from January to March 2001.

Instead of ordering another season, however, Fuji dropped the show for five years, reviving it for a special that aired in July 2006 — and also scored over 30.

By this time, Fuji producer Chihiro Kameyama — the mastermind behind the smash “Bayside Shakedown” cop thriller franchise and many other hit films, was developing a “Hero” feature.

Set for release on 470 screens on Sept. 8, “Hero” is expected to equal or surpass the spectacular take of the two “Bayside Shakedown” films, the second of which grossed Y17.35 billion ($151 million) in 2003, more than that year’s “Harry Potter” entry.

In August, Kimura signed to star in  the Anh Hung Tran psychothriller “I Come With the Rain,” a pan-Asian production that is expected to raise his regional profile.

He also appeared in Wong Kar-wai’s mood romance “2046,” as well Yoji Yamada’s period drama “Love and Honor,” a major hit for Shochiku in 2006.

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