Film News Roundup: Mike Tyson’s ‘China Salesman’ Bought for North America

In today’s film news roundup, Mike Tyson’s “China Salesman” gets a VOD deal, Cinemand expands operations, and STX hires three veteran executives.

ACQUISITION

Cleopatra Entertainment has acquired North American rights to the adventure “China Salesman,” starring Mike Tyson, Steven Seagal, Dong-Xue Li, Janicke Askevold, Li Ai, and Eriq Ebouaney, Variety has learned exclusively.

“China Salesman” is produced by China’s Wanda Corp. with a reported $20 million budget. Chinese filmmaker Tan Bing wrote and directed the film, which is set in Africa where a Chinese engineer/salesman comes face-to-face with a corrupt competitor over the contract for the first African mobile telecom technology.

Tyson portrays a tribesman and Seagal plays a mercenary with both drawn into the conflict in a brutal hand-to-hand fight while the entire country faces civil war battles.

“China Salesman” will be released theaterically on April 20 and on VOD plaforms on May 1. The deal was brokered by Cleopatra’s CEO Brian Perera and Tim Yasui with TriCoast Worldwide on behalf of the filmmakers.

CINEMAND EXPANSION

Three-year-old Cinemand has launched Cinemand Films with plans to finance original narrative features from filmmakers in both the theatrical and digital space.

Cinemand Films’ first project “Funny Story” wrapped production last week. The film stars Emily Bett Rickards (“Brooklyn”), Matthew Glave (“Girlfriend’s Guide to Divorce”), and Jana Winternitz (“The Thinning”) and is set to have its world premiere at the 2018 Slamdance Film Festival.

Glave portrays a former TV heartthrob as he attempts to reconnect with his estranged daughter Nic (Winternitz) by inviting himself to crash her vacation in Big Sur and then hooks up with his daughter’s friend. The film is directed by Michael Gallagher (“The Thinning”) and co-written by Gallagher and Steve Greene.

Gallagher, Winternitz, and Michael Wormser produced the film through their Cinemand Films label. Cinemand produced “Internet Famous,” which streams on Netflix, and the dystopian teen thriller “The Thinning,” which which was acquired by YouTube Red.

STX HIRINGS

STX Entertainment has hired a trio of veteran executives with STXinternational appointing Rhiannon Harries as finance director to oversee international financial operations. Harries joins from AMC Networks International UK, where she spent more than a decade.

STXdigital has named former Time Inc. business development executive Brandon Fong as its senior VP of business development. Fong will be based in Burbank, Calif., and tasked with growing and diversifying STXdigital’s business slate.

Jack Teed has joined STXfilms as senior VP of creative advertising, after an extended consulting period. Teed’s previous posts include the same senior role at Relativity EuropaCorp Distribution.

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