The Weinstein Company, internationally acclaimed director Andrew Lau (Infernal Affairs) and prolific producer Tony Krantz (24, Mulholland Drive) have formed the new martial arts label Qi (pronounced ‘Chee’) to produce the next generation of sophisticated, high-quality, English language martial arts films that will feature leading international martial arts superstars. The company has begun working on three films that will be made for direct-to-DVD release, however some may also be released theatrically. The Weinstein Company will distribute the Qi films on DVD and will present them under the Dragon Dynasty Label through Genius Products, TWC’s exclusive home video distributor. Co-producing the projects are Zack Sherman and Andrew Loo for Krantz’s Flame Ventures and Lau’s Initial A, respectively. The joint announcement was made today by Harvey Weinstein, co-chairman of The Weinstein Company, Andrew Lau and Tony Krantz.
Qi, named after the Chinese phrase for spiritual energy and life force, unites some of Hollywood’s leading producers with Asia’s most dynamic filmmakers and is part of the Weinsteins’ commitment to share Asian films with audiences across the world. Premier Asian filmmaker Andrew Lau and innovative producer Tony Krantz will work with emerging Asian talent, the next generation of martial arts stars and the dynamic fight choreographer David Leitch’s 87 Eleven Action Film Co. (300, The Matrix 2 and 3) to create a unique mix of realistic and visually aggressive films filled with state of the art fight scenes for a growing worldwide legion of fans.
Harvey Weinstein stated, “As film lovers, my brother and I have always recognized and appreciated the artistic and commercial potential of Asian cinema. We are thrilled to be working with Andrew Lau and Tony Krantz to help breathe new life into the martial arts genre as we continue to build both the Qi and the already strong Dragon Dynasty brand.”
Tony Krantz stated, “Andrew and I wanted to make martial arts films with the next, new generation of international action superstars, writers and directors. Asia has risen in every way—economically, culturally and creatively, and this new label of films will emphasize story, character and thrilling action—all set against this extraordinarily exciting and colorful Asian backdrop. Harvey Weinstein and Barry Gordon have helped make this label of films—shot in Bangkok, Hong Kong, Macau—into a real home for the world’s best international martial arts talent. It’s just an absolute pleasure to be in business with The Weinstein Company for the birth of Qi.”
Krantz continued, “A foundation of the Qi collection of movies will be carefully constructed scripts written by top U.S. writers, which will emphasize character, humor where appropriate, and real stories full of twists and turns.”
Andrew Lau stated, “This collaboration represents a new era in world cinema. We have an opportunity here to create a unique blend of East meets West, with English language scripts being shot by exciting up and coming directors from Asia and elsewhere. What Tony and I hope to achieve through Qi is not just the creation of the next generation of action stars, but a new genre within cinema, one that blends cutting edge martial arts with Asian filmmaking know-how and first class scripts for a modern, international audience. I want to thank The Weinstein Company for supporting this new direction in filmmaking.”
Barry Gordon, executive vice president of home entertainment, Laine Kline, senior vice president of business and legal affairs, and Jonathan Bird, director of business and legal affairs, negotiated the deal on behalf of TWC. Harold Brown and Bianca Levin of Gang, Tyler, Ramer and Brown, negotiated on behalf of Krantz and Lau. Andrew Lau and Tony Krantz are represented by Endeavor.
Dragon Dynasty showcases cutting-edge presentations of significant classic and contemporary Asian Cinema for the home entertainment market. Combining elevated production values with dynamic creative execution, each Dragon Dynasty product will extend a compelling invitation to experience the world’s most exciting action genre like never before. Dragon Dynasty features from legendary Asian filmmakers such as John Woo, Yuen Woo-ping and Corey Yuen Kwai and the films star some of Asia’s hottest leading actors like Jackie Chan, Jet Li, Stephen Chow, Donnie Yen, Michelle Yeoh and Sammo Hung.
Throughout their careers, Bob and Harvey Weinstein have been involved with some of the most highly acclaimed and financially successful Asian films including The Protector, the record box office hit Hero, the Academy Award nominee Farewell my Concubine, Iron Monkey, the animated hit Princess Mononoke, the Japanese version of Shall we Dance, Jet Li’s The Master, Twin Warriors, The Enforcer, The Legend of the Swordsman, The Legend, The Legend II, and Fist of Legend, Shaolin Soccer, starring Stephen Chow, The Accidental Spy, The Legend of Drunken Master, Twin Dragons, Operation Condor, Supercop 1 and 2, all starring Jackie Chan, along with Temptress Moon, and Chungking Express, among many others.
The Weinstein Company is home to the largest library of Asian films in North America including a special collection of 50 classic Shaw Brothers’ movies. TWC’s Asian titles are released through the company’s Dragon Dynasty label. Quentin Tarantino, who is well recognized for his passionate interest and broad knowledge of Asian cinema, is actively working with the Weinsteins on all aspects of brand development for Dragon Dynasty. Recent titles released under the Dragon Dynasty label include Kill Zone, Police Story, Seven Swords, The Protector, Police Story 2, Infernal Affairs 2, Infernal Affairs 3, the Infernal Affairs trilogy boxset and the 2 Disc Ultimate Edition of Born to Fight.