Platinum Studios, Relativity Media, IDG Films and Arclight Filmshave jointly arranged financing on back-to-back stories adapted from Top CowProductions' comic book Witchblade.
Principal photography is set to begin in 2006 in China on the twopictures, with Platinum, Relativity and IDG producing and Arclight handlinginternational sales. The parties will announce a domestic distributor furtherdown the line.
Witchbladefollows the exploits of a detective who fights crime with the aid of a mysticaland powerful weapon. The comic books have been translated into 21 languages anddistributed in 55 countries.
Relativity principals Ryan Kavanaugh and Lynwood Spinks will serveas producers with Platinum Studios chairman Scott Mitchell Rosenberg and IDGFilms general partners Steven Squillante and David Lee.
Top Cow founder Marc Silvestri and Arclight Films' Gary Hamiltonand Harrison Kordestani will serve as executive producers.
"We are obviously very excited about this project,"Kavanaugh said. "The large and loyal fan base that exists for Witchblade, both in the US and worldwide, is atremendous platform upon which to expand its popularity to film."
"IDG Films is pleased and excited to be in business with Ryanand Scott on a property as significant as Witchblade," IDG's Lee said. "Bringing this type ofproduction to China will help to showcase China as a major producer of contentfor worldwide consumption."
"We know that shooting a movie and its sequel back-to-back israre, but Witchbladeis in good company," Rosenberg added. "Look at Lord Of The Rings, The Matrix or, more recently, Pirates Of TheCaribbean 2 and 3. When you have a property that you havea lot of faith in, it can really pay off."
Platinum Studios recently acquired exclusive rights to develop TopCow's extensive library for film and television, and has a number of projectswith Top Cow set up at the major studios, including Cowboys & Aliens at Sony, Mal Chance and The Darkness at Miramax, and Wanted at Universal.
Relativity Media is a financing, consulting and productioncompany. It recently financed and co-produced the Mark Canton films Land OfThe Dead for Universaland Full Of It forNew Line, and brokered a co-financing deal on behalf of Virtual Studios withWarner Bros for six pictures including Steven Soderbergh's The Good German and Wolfgang Petersen's Poseidon.
IDG Films is a new division of the technology media CompanyInternational Data Group with offices in Beijing and Los Angeles. It recentlyset up the venture capital fund IDGVC in China.
Arclight's slate includes Sundance 2006 entry Come EarlyMorning, a romancestarring Ashley Judd, as well as teen comedy Material Girls starring Hilary and Haley Duff, and thedark comedy Mini's First Time, which stars Nikki Reed, Alec Baldwin, Luke Wilson andCarrie-Anne Moss.