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Signal Pictures Targets Asian Superhero Segment

Signal Pictures, a new production company that is jointly owned by Korean investors and “Batman” producer Michael Uslan’s Uslan Entertainment, is kicking off with a trio of superhero and action movie projects. A significant portion of its slate will include China-focused projects.

Signal Pictures is headed by Kathy Kim, former CEO of CJ Entertainment, and veteran producer Jonathan Kim (no relation) as president of production. Jonathan Kim, CEO of HanMac Culture, is this week on the Asian film jury at the Shanghai International Film Festival.

The Signal Pictures production slate is headed by its stake in current Uslan Entertainment project “East Dragon, West Dragon,” an animated feature directed by Tony Bancroft, previously director of Disney’s “Mulan.”

It will also board “The Luckiest Man,” a drama the story of New York Yankees baseball player Lou Gehrig, who fought and lost a heroic battle against a form of motor neurone disease (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) that was subsequently named after him.

A third project, soon to be announced in detail, will be scripted by top Hollywood screenwriter/director Jonathan Hensleigh, who has credits including “Armageddon” and “Die Hard With a Vengeance.”

Uslan Entertainment is the company controlled by Michael Uslan and producer David Uslan.

Signal Entertainment has previously worked with HanMac on several Korea-China and global movie projects. Among these, “Making Family”, starring Kim Ha Neul and Aarif Lee, will be released during China’s Mid-Autumn Festival on Sept. 15.

At a launch event in Seoul Kathy Kim said that the Chinese film market is not only growing in size, it is also now maturing. Different genres are being sought by audiences, and she expects this expansion trend to include Asian-themed superhero and animation movies.

“We will be identifying successful IP and creating strong stories with deep characterizations, in order to appeal to the global market. The content will possess uplifting and universal themes that will transcend not merely borders, but cultures as well,” said Michael Uslan.

“What we’re trying to do is not about trying to take a piece of the China market. Instead, we’re trying to work together for Chinese cultural products to have more global appeal and international success,” Jonathan Kim told Variety in Shanghai. “By widening the horizons, we can afford the ever rising production cost and talent prices in China, and making this into a real business, not a gamble.”

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