China Film Group Corporation has announced that it has sold all Japanese rights to Chen Kaige's biopic Mei Lanfang to Kadokawa Pictures.

Although the amount of the deal was not disclosed, CFGC chairman Han Sanping said it is the highest price in recent years for a Chinese film sold to overseas. Kadokawa previously acquired Chen's 1993 Palme d'Or winner Farewell My Concubine.

'We had a good cooperation with Mr. Chen Kaige. In real life, Mei Lanfang went to Japan three times, making good and profound impressions on the Japanese audience. And we also believe the film has a good combination between artistic expression and commercial value,' said Kadokawa chairman Tsuguhiko Kadokawa in a statement.

Starring Leon Lai, Zhang Ziyi, Gillian Chung and Masanobu Ando, the $15m film depicts the life of legendary Peking Opera master Mei Lanfang, who was renowned for playing female roles.

Set against the backdrop of Japan 's invasion of China during WWII, the story focuses on the two women in Mei's life and his friendship with a Japanese military man. CFGC, Taiwan 's CMC Entertainment and Hong Kong 's Emperor Motion Pictures are co-producing the film, which is now in post-production.

According to Han Sanping, the film is scheduled to be released in China at the end of the year. CFGC will also aim for a day-to-date release in most Asian territories.