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Robert Rodriguez’s El Rey Network Signs Martial Arts Movie Pact With Celestial

HONG KONGRobert Rodriguez’s nascent El Rey cable TV network has struck a long-term programming partnership with Hong Kong’s Celestial Pictures.

The five year deal gives El Rey Network access to 255 martial arts movies from the Shaw Brothers collection. These have been restored and are managed by Celestial.

The deal, which runs from October, is an extension and expansion of an existing licensing agreement. In a statement the two companies say they are in further discussion on new original programming concepts based on the Shaw films.

Titles covered by the deal include “The Five Deadly Venoms,” “Mad Monkey Kung Fu” (pictured), “The Brave Archer” trilogy and “Have Sword Will Travel.” These will air throughout the schedule and in the network’s monthly Kung Fu marathons. All films come with English subtitles and/or English dubbed tracks.

“These iconic films have really resonated with our viewers and we are excited to be the American home of this incredible library. As a kid, I found this kind of content wildly entertaining and these dazzling, kinetic and epic spectacles are still a great inspiration in the work I do to this day,” said Rodriguez in the statement.

El Rey Network is jointly owned by film-maker Rodriguez and FactoryMade Ventures with a minority stake held by Univision Networks & Studios.

Celestial, which is owned by Malaysia’s Astro and based in Hong Kong, is a major investor in TV channels cluster Celestial Tiger Entertainment (CTE), alongside Saban Capital Group and Lionsgate. CTEn operates channels in Asia and Australia that include Celestial Movies, Celestial Classic Movies, Celestial Movies HD, cHK, KIX, KIX HD and Thrill.

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