Miramax Films and Hong Kong-based content providerCelestial Pictures have signed a long-term deal giving the US mini-major aswathe of video and video-on-demand (VoD) rights to numerous titles within the renowned Shaw Brotherslibrary as well as English-language remake rights for two Chinese films.

Under the deal, Miramax has video distribution rights for NorthAmerica, the UK, Australia and New Zealand to 50 titles from the library. Inaddition, Miramax retains VoD rights to the entire collectionfor North America.

Numbering some 760 titles, the Shaw Brothers library is thelargest collection of Chinese films in the world and contains seminal workslike The One-Armed Swordsman, Come Drink With Me and The 36th Chamber Of Shaolin. The library is the legacy of the famousimpresario Sir Run Run Shaw.

In a statement, Miramax co-chairman Harvey Weinstein Weinstein saidhe was thrilled at the prospect of bringing some of the titles to video for thefirst time.

Referring to the remake options, he said: "The Shaw films area terrific source of fresh story ideas for new movies. I've had my eye on someof these films for many years."

"Celestial Pictures is thrilled to have created such amulti-dimensional, long-term relationship for distribution and production withMiramax," Celestial chief executive officer William Pfeiffer said.

"Harvey Weinstein and his team are the unparalleled leadersin distributing and marketing high-quality Chinese films to audiences in thekey English-language markets. We also share the vision that VoD will be animportant way to reach new viewers and to expand the film market."

Jim Dolan, president and chief executive officer of CablevisionSystems Corp, one of America's leading cable television operators, said aboutthe deal: "The expanded channel capacity and on demand functionality madepossible by digital cable has revolutionised the delivery of highly personalcontent to customers.

"Miramax's licensing of the VoD rights to the famous Shaw Brotherslibrary makes perfect sense given the power of this new technology and theimmense popularity of this special interest programming throughout thenation."

The deal was negotiated for Miramax by Charles Layton, executivevice president at Weinstein's office, Stuart Ford, senior vice president ofacquisitions international operations, and Barry Littman, vice president ofbusiness and legal affairs.

Celestial Pictures is a diversified entertainment company focusingon Asian-language film and television content. Its activities includeproduction, distribution, and TV channels.

The company is backed by a large Malaysia-based conglomerate withextensive media holdings.