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June 4, 2004 2:00 AM
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Magnolia Gets Thai Action Hit "Ong-Bak: Thai Warrior"

Magnolia Gets Thai Action Hit "Ong-Bak: Thai Warrior"

by Eugene Hernandez









Tony Jaa in "Ong-Bak," which is set for release later this year by Magnolia Pictures. Image provide by Magnolia Pictures.

Magnolia Pictures has nabbed Prachya Pinkaew's "Ong-Bak: Thai Warrior." The film, acquired and re-cut by Luc Besson's EuropaCorp after its debut at the Toronto International Film Festival last year, stars Thai martial artist Tony Jaa. The movie was a hit in France, where EuropaCorp earned nearly a million with its release of the movie.

"I have seen the future of the action film and his name is Tony Jaa," said Magnolia's Eamonn Bowles in a statement yesterday. "'Ong-Bak' contains some of the most jaw-dropping sequences ever committed to film -- no strings attached."

"Ong-Bak" refers to a Buddha statue kept in a rural Thai temple. Local villagers believe that the statue has magical powers that protect them. When the head of the Ong-Bak is stolen, villager Ting (played by Jaa) must travel to Bangkok to win it back. A sequel to the film is in the works and Jaa is also working with the same team that made "Ong-Bak" to shoot his new movie, "Tom-Yum-Goong."

Magnolia's Bowles and Tom Quinn negotiated the deal with Pierre-Ange Le Pogam and Gregoire Melin of EuropaCorp. The company plans a wide release in November.

"Control Room" and "Bukowski: Born Into This" are currently in release from Magnolia. The company will release another Thai film, the epic "Bang Rajan," in August.

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