The WeinsteinCompany has returned distribution rights to Chen Kaige'sThe Promise (akaMaster Of The Crimson Armor) to thefilm's producers Moonstone Entertainment and China Film Group.

TWC had boughtrights in North America, UK, Australia and South Africa to the film at Cannesthis year but those territories are now available again and Moonstone's Etchie Stroh, who produced and sold the film, said that heis anticipating new deals shortly.

The split is anamicable one. TWC and Moonstone had different opinions on the awards strategyfor the picture, which is China'sofficial submission to the Oscars and which has scored a Golden Globenomination for best foreign language film. TWC's co-chairmanHarvey Weinstein preferred that Moonstone and China Film Group resume controlof the film since the two approaches were so different.

Moonstone willnow release the film in Los Angeleson Dec 30 for a one week run to qualify for Academy Awards categories outsidethe foreign language category. There are two cuts of the film - the 102-minutewestern cut and the 121-minute Asian cut which is currently on release in China.Ironically, Moonstone will release the western cut, on which TWC workedclosely, to qualify for Oscars but the Oscar foreign language committee willview the original Chinese cut. The film released into US theatres will be thewestern cut.

TWC had redubbed the film MasterOf The Crimson Armor but Stroh said that he will return to the orginal title The Promisein the next US deal, although Master OfThe Crimson Armor will be a secondary title which will appear onadvertising.

"We havethoroughly enjoyed working together for the past seven months and have reachedan amicable decision to part ways on MasterOf The Crimson Armor. That said, we have tremendous respect for Chen Kaige, Etchie Stroh and Han Sanping and are all rooting for them as they go forwardreleasing this film," said Weinstein in a statement.

"I have alwaysrespected Harvey's experience and expertise inmarketing films from a different culture for the US market. We are gratefulfor all the work that The Weinstein Company put in over many months to create aperfect version of the film for a US release and we plan to push The Promise in most eligible categoriesfor this year's Academy Awards," said Etchie Stroh.