Magnet Releasing, the genre arm of Magnolia Pictures, has scored a deal for U.S. rights to John Woo’s two-part “Red Cliff,” a period war film that is the Asian auteur’s first Chinese film since “Hard Boiled” in 1992. Magnet is planning a theatrical release of the combined version of the films in the fall of 2009, according to an announcement from Cannes, while making both complete parts released in Asia available on VOD and DVD. E1 Entertainment will release the film simultaneously in Canada.
Magnet’s Senior Vice President Tom Quinn and Head of Business Affairs Chris Matson negotiated the pact with the producers’ representatives on the deal— CAA and Howard Frumes of Alexander, Nau, Lawrence, Frumes & Labowitz.
“Red Cliff” is described as an “epic tour-de-force” depicting the legendary Battle of Red Cliffs that took place during the end of the Han Dynasty in the early third century. Starring Tony Leung (“Infernal Affairs”), Takeshi Kaneshiro (“Warlords”) and Zhang Fengyi (“Farewell My Concubine”), the film is a story of a military campaign of unprecedented scale that holds mythic status in Chinese culture.
Produced by Terence Chang, the film is the all-time box office record holder in mainland China and will be released theatrically as one film this fall. The two complete parts wil be released on DVD and VOD. The most expensive Asian-financed film to date, it is the current all-time box office record holder in mainland China and has grossed over $100 million in Japan where it’s currently in release.