You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Red Apollo Launches Saga Films as Pan-Asia Distributor (EXCLUSIVE)

Los Angeles-based China distributor and buyers’ rep firm Red Apollo is launching Saga Films. The new company will specialize in handling rights in China and the pan-Asia markets.

The company was founded by Red Apollo’s Rick Zhang Yifeng and is operated by film sales veteran Brett Lauter, as VP of global sales and acquisitions. Lauter was previously with companies including Entertainment Properties, AAAA Entertainment, and Pan Global Entertainment, and post-production services company Contact Video.

Saga has financial backing from Lens Media, parent of Red Apollo. The new venture starts life with a seven-film supply deal from ZDF Enterprises, part of German public broadcaster ZDF. It expects to be present at the major autumn film trade events including the Toronto festival and the American Film Market.

“We see Red Apollo as handling acquisitions from the U.S. and Europe. Saga complements that as the pan-Asia distributor,” Lauter told Variety. “In contrast to U.S.-based distributors who try to cover the whole world, we are a China-based distributor with an office in the U.S. Our China expertise enables us to maximize rights-holders’ revenues in the fast-growing pan-Asian market.”

Saga, which defines Asia as including Japan, India, Indonesia and most points in between, but excludes Australia and New Zealand, does not currently have its own distribution network outside China. In territories outside China, it will act as a sales agent.

“Most Saga films will not get a theatrical release in China. That’s not a problem as we have excellent connections with the VoD and digital channels,” said Lauter.

Lauter identified action, high concept, sci-fi and thrillers as key genres of the company, ideally with films having at least one actor in the IMDb top 500 ranking. “We’re dedicated to seeking films for distribution with strong commercial value. The high-quality titles acquired through the ZDF partnership will be perfect for the territory.”

Red Apollo, which been operating since 2003 and now has 30 distribution staff in China, was involved in the China distribution of “The Infiltrator,” “Pride & Prejudice and Zombies,” and “The Zookeeper’s Wife.” Its next theatrical release is Danny Boon-starring French action comedy “Raid Dingue.”

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • "Weathering With You" directed by Makoto

    'Weathering With You' Hit Anime Selected as Japan’s Oscars Contender

    “Weathering with You,” the hit animation by Makoto Shinkai, has been selected as Japan’s contender for a the International Feature Film Awards at the Oscars, the Japan Motion Picture Producers Association(Eiren) announced on Monday. As of Wednesday last week, “Weathering” had grossed more than $94 million in Japanese theaters. The film is the first animated [...]

  • (from left) Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson)

    China Box Office: 'Hobbs & Shaw' Roars to Top With $101 Million Debut

    Revving up against a line-up completely devoid of serious competitors, “Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw” roared to the top of China’s box office with a $101 million debut, figures from consultancy Artisan Gateway show — more than four times the haul of the weekend’s second highest grossing title. China is one of the [...]

  • El Principe

    First Look: Trailer for Venice Critics' Week Prison Drama 'El Principe' (EXCLUSIVE)

    “How did you end up in here?” an older inmate asks Jaime, a young man who unexpectedly finds himself in prison. The answer: He killed his best friend. “El Principe” is Chilean director Sebastián Muñoz’s debut feature and has its world premiere in the Critics’ Week section at the Venice Film Festival. Set in Chile [...]

  • Leonardo Dicaprio Once Upon a Time

    Leonardo DiCaprio's Earth Alliance Commits $5 Million to Amazon Fires

    Earth Alliance, an environmental initiative backed by Leonardo DiCaprio, has committed $5 million toward the preservation of the Amazon rain forest following an alarming surge in wildfires. After launching Sunday, the organization’s emergency Amazon Forest Fund is working to support local partners and indigenous communities in their efforts to protect the sensitive habitats within the [...]

  • (from left) Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson)

    Box Office: 'Hobbs & Shaw' Scores $102 Million Debut in China, Nears $600 Million Globally

    Universal’s “Hobbs & Shaw” returned to first place on the international box office charts, thanks to a massive $102 million debut in China. The “Fast & Furious” spinoff, starring Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham, collected another $120 million overseas, boosting its foreign tally to $441 million. “Hobbs & Shaw” is nearing the $600 million mark [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content