The Weinstein Company (TWC)has acquired worldwide film rights to Wang Du Lu's Crane-Iron Pentalogy, the series of novels upon which Ang Lee's classic CrouchingTiger, Hidden Dragon was based.

TWChas also acquired the worldwide rights to develop and produce stage adaptationsof the pentalogy including Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon which will be the first stage production.

TheCrane-Iron Pentalogy consists offive martial arts novels that follow the adventures of three generations of relatedprotagonists during the Qing dynasty in China. The titles are CraneFrightens KunLun; Precious Sword,Golden Hairpin; Sword Spirit,Pearl Light; Crouching Tiger,Hidden Dragon; and Iron Knight,Silver Vase.

CrouchingTiger, of course, was a blockbustingfilm in 2000 released domestically by Sony Pictures Classics.

"CrouchingTiger, Hidden Dragon was one of themost successful foreign-language films of all time, and there is a whole worldof material in all of these books that can be explored in a series of greatfilms, much like the Lord of the Rings trilogy," said Harvey Weinstein in a statement. "Theatre audiencesshould have high expectations for the spectacle that this extraordinarymaterial can bring to the stage, and I think this is an opportunity to createsomething revolutionary."

"Thesewonderful books and their potential adaptations are further evidence of Chinaas a major center for talent, creative arts and culture," said Grace Chen,director of William Morris China, Inc. "We are thrilled to have a role inhelping to bring more of Wang Du Lu's works to a global audience."

HongWang, son of Wang Du Lu and the Wang family's representative, said, "Weare happy to have the Weinsteins produce films and theater based on my father'sbooks. Harvey and Bob have a great track record in producing many otherprojects and have strong relationships with talented producers anddirectors. They've had a lot experience with other Asian projects and it willbe great to work with them."

TheWeinsteins have extensive experience in backing stage plays on Broadway such as TheProducers, The Color Purple, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Baz Luhrmann's La Boheme. They are currently developing a stage version of TheWall.

The deal was brokered byWilliam Morris China, Inc. along with its Beijing-based counsel, Ji Xiang ofFangda Partners. Timothy Schmidt, senior vice president of business affairs,negotiated on behalf of TWC.