Korean seller Cineclick Asia has sold Hollywood remake rights on its hit martial arts comedy Hi Dharma to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM).
The film, about conflict and compromise between gangsters and some ass-kicking monks, was one of the top five in Korea last year, scoring a gross of $20.4m from its 207-print Nov 7 release.
MGM is understood to have paid some $300,000 for the rights, according to AFM sources not related to either company. The deal was negotiated by Suh Young-joo Cineclick Asia principal and MGM's vice president, production, Eric Paquette.
Significantly, the studio is only buying rights to remake the picture and will not be acquiring North American rights to the underlying original as is typical of most remake deals. Suh says she expects to close a deal on the Park Kwan-directed original by the end of this AFM with a specialist US distributor.
Hi Dharma is the third in a rash of Korean pictures that have attracted remake attention from the US. In October Cineclick sold remake and distribution rights to female gangster flick My Wife Is A Gangster to Miramax. Dreamworks is currently finalising a remake deal with IM Pictures on My Sassy Girl, a drama based on a series of internet postings, that was knitted together as a script by director-screenwriter Kwak Jae-yong.
Madonna's Maverick Films will produce for DreamWorks. My Sassy Girl, which grossed $26m, was originally sold in international markets by vertically integrated giant Cinema Service, which was an early investor in the picture.