Weinstein’s to Build Huge Library of Asian Cinema

Bob and Harvey Weinstein recently announced the unveiling of Dragon Dynasty, a new label under which all The Weinstein Company’s Asian titles will be released, including “Ong Bak 2,” “The Protector” (aka “Tom Yum Goong”), “Born to Fight”, “SPL”, “Seven Swords” and “Dragon Squad”, as well as a package of high profile titles, which was licensed from Fortune Star Entertainment: the distribution division of News Corporation’s STAR Group which owns the world’s largest contemporary Chinese language feature film library.

The 43 Fortune Star titles, together with a special collection of 50 classic Shaw Brothers’ movies and a number of independent acquisitions, including John Woo’s seminal productions, “The Killer”, “Hardboiled”, “Bullet in the Head” and “A Better Tomorrow 1 & 2”, combine to make The Weinstein Company the leader in Asian Cinema in North America.

Quentin Tarantino, who is well recognized for his passionate interest and broad knowledge of Asian cinema, will actively work with the Weinsteins in all aspects of brand development for Dragon Dynasty.

The Weinstein Company’s Dragon Dynasty library already includes films starring some of Asia’s hottest actors such as Jackie Chan, Jet Li, Stephen Chow, Donnie Yen, Michelle Yeoh and Sammo Hung, as well as titles from legendary filmmakers John Woo, Yuen Woo-ping and Corey Yuen Kwai, amongst others. The company has ambitious plans to continue building the library, and will be acquiring titles across all genres of Asian film such as contemporary action, martial arts, epic swordplay and hi-octane thriller. The titles selected for theatrical distribution will be released by The Weinstein Company, and all home video output will be managed by Genius Products.

The Weinsteins originally acquired the collection of Shaw Brothers’ movies during their tenure at Miramax Films and brought the titles with them to The Weinstein Company as part of their settlement agreement with the Walt Disney Studios.

The Weinstein Company will redefine the presentation of Asian Cinema on DVD, and is developing a number of Special Edition packages for its new brand, including 2-Disc Platinum Editions of Jet Li’s world-acclaimed “Fist of Legend” and “Tai Chi Master”.Each Dragon Dynasty DVD will possess a unique and carefully crafted identity, and will include many groundbreaking, informative and exclusive special bonus features such as rare behind-the-scenes footage, deleted scenes, out-takes, and specially commissioned documentaries and interviews featuring cast members, filmmakers and celebrity enthusiasts of Asian film.

Peter Poon, General Manager of Fortune Star, stated, “Fortune Star is excited to work with TWC and their specialized team in bringing our popular titles at the highest quality for DVD release to the US market. The launch of Dragon Dynasty will be a tremendous boost to the Asian Cinema as it will now have a more powerful access to the American audiences.”

Donnie Yen stated, “I’m delighted that my film SPL will be one of the lead titles for Dragon Dynasty. Harvey has put a great team together for the brand, and I look forward to collaborating with them on the upcoming release of Seven Swords. Finally, we Asian action film-makers have a proper platform to present our work to the international audience.”

Sammo Hung stated, “I hope this new label brings more fans to our films, so that we have an even bigger audience in the future. I’m very happy to see SPL, Dragon Squad and some of my older films released by Dragon Dynasty. I’m a heavy hitter myself, and it’s good to see TWC throwing its weight behind our industry!”

Harvey Weinstein stated, “Bob and I are extremely passionate about Asian Cinema and have always been enormous fans of Asian filmmakers from Akira Kurosawa to John Woo. We started building a library of Asian titles years ago and hope to continue adding to it for years to come. Bob and I are proud to launch Dragon Dynasty and hope to continue bringing Asian cinema the recognition it deserves. Alan Bergman and the Disney team have been incredibly cooperative with the collection of Shaw Brothers’ movies.”

Brian White stated, “I am really excited to be building the Dragon Dynasty brand with Harvey and Bob. Their passion and dedication to the genre is really quite extraordinary, and our collective goal is to produce imaginative, visually-dynamic, feature-laden DVD titles, which are designed to take the presentation of the genre to a new level of excellence, and bring to the widest possible audience all that is special and unique in the World of Asian Cinema.”

The Weinsteins also announced that Brian White has been named Director of Asian Brand Management and Post-production for The Weinstein Company’s Dragon Dynasty. Brian White will work closely with Hong Kong based Executive Vice President of Asian Acquisitions and Co-production, Bey Logan, on all Asian acquisitions, on identifying projects for Dragon Dynasty, and will be charged with overseeing all aspects of the new brand. White will also be responsible for all creative aspects of the development and construction of the Dragon Dynasty DVD titles. White is based in London, and will report to both Bob and Harvey Weinstein.