Miramax Films is poised to acquire rights for North and South America, Italy and Spain to Hong Kong blockbuster Infernal Affairs, the first film in what is shaping up to be a hugely successful franchise.

The Media Asia production has now been sold to most major territories including the UK, which went to Metro Tartan, and Japan where Comstock will open the film on October 11. Remake rights were snapped up by Warner Bros and Brad Grey and Brad Pitt's Plan B production outfit earlier this year.

Miramax is understood to be in the final stages of closing the deal for the US and other territories.

Meanwhile the second film in the franchise, Infernal Affairs II, is currently breaking records at the Hong Kong box office (see separate story on ScreenDaily.com). A third film is currently in production and scheduled for release in mid-December.

Directed by Andrew Lau and Alan Mak, Infernal Affairs is a crime thriller about the dynamics between a triad's mole in the police force and an undercover cop in the triads. The cast includes four previous winners of the best actor prize at the Hong Kong Film Awards - Andy Lau, Tony Leung Chiu-wai, Eric Tsang and Anthony Wong. It was the top grossing film in Hong Kong last year with a take of $7m (HK$55m.)

Infernal Affairs was also given a theatrical outing on the mainland last month, although box office returns were low as the film had already sold widely on DVD and VCD. Infernal Affairs II - which Media Asia produced in association with Singapore's Raintree Pictures and China's Eastern Dragon - will be released on the mainland later this month. The third film is being set up as a Hong Kong-China co-production.