Korean blockbuster Musa (aka Musa The Warrior) has been picked up for French release by M6 and heads a growing Asian slate that, despite rumours to the contrary, continues to include Michelle Yeoh's The Touch.
Musa, which is the biggest-budget Korean title of all time, is set for an early 2002 release through M6 stablemate Societe Nouvelle de Distribution (SND). M6, which this month overtook TF1 as the most profitable broadcaster in France, will handle TV and video - through its growing home entertainment division. Although M6 did not confirm the value of the transaction, Korean sources put the all-rights deal at some $400,000. The film is directed by Kim Sung-soo and sold by CJ Entertainment.
The sword and martial arts epic, which boasts Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon discovery Zhang Ziyi, is the story of seven Korean warriors sent on a rescue mission to China. After nine days on release in Korea it had achieved 1.2m admissions, roughly equivalent to a gross of $6.55m.
From Mirovision, M6 also bought all rights to Tell Me Something, a bloody 1999 murder mystery directed by Chang Yun-hyon. Later this autumn M6 and SND will release Japanese shocker Battle Royale acquired from Toei. They previously bought Nowhere To Hide from Korea's Cinema Service and Taewon Entertainment.
M6 director of acquisitions, Jean-Patrick Benes confirmed that the company is still on board and fully expecting to distribute The Touch. The $18.5m fantasy adventure, is directed by Oscar-winning cinematographer Peter Pau and follows a circus along the Silk Road. It is produced by Mythical Films, the production outfit headed by Yeoh and Media Asia's former managing director Thomas Chung with financiers including Taiwan's Pandasia.
M6 announced at Cannes this year that it had bought the picture, making it the first distributor from a major territory to commit to the ambitious picture. Benes said: "There may be some disagreement as to whether the film is now represented by Media Asia or by the producers themselves, but it has begun production, it has an attractive cast and we are looking forward to releasing it." The film, which stars Yeoh, Ben Chaplin and Richard Roxburgh (who most recently played the villain in Moulin Rouge), has been picked up by Miramax for the US and certain European territories.