Friend, the record-breaking Korean action drama, has secured a release in Japan after Toho Towa and TV Asahi put up a massive $2.1m.

The film by Kwak Kyun-taek is represented by Cineclick Asia, which also sold the film for Hong Kong to Mandarin, which is believed to have paid close to $100,000. Toho will release Friend theatrically, with TV Asahi handling all TV rights.

The film, which was released in Korea in March and is still in the top ten list, has now passed eight million spectators, making it the undisputed Korean box office champion of all time. While a North American deal is still pending, the film has been invited for competition in Montreal.

Kwak will next turn to the US for inspiration. Korea Pictures, which bankrolled Friend, is to finance The Champion, a story inspired by real life events about a boxer from a poor family who harbours championship dreams, but does not know how to come down from the ring. The picture, which is partially set in the US, will star Yoo Oh-sun, who starred in Friend. Production is through Jininsa Film with international sales again handled by Cineclick.

Korea Pictures and Cineclick are together again on November Rain, a murder mystery set to star Han Suk-kyu, star of Shiri, Tell Me Something and Christmas In August and the biggest draw in Korean film. Direction is by Kim Moon-soo and production by HIM Pictures Co.