The Weinstein Co. release acquired from Annapurna Pictures hits theaters August 23 with an abridged title (formerly The Grandmasters). Tony Leung stars in the Wong Kar-wai action drama as legendary martial artist Ip Man. Zhang Ziyi and Cung Le co-star. Here’s the first domestic teaser for the pic, replete with rainy action footage and a rather intrusive voice over:
Berlin: Despite High-Profile Sales ‘Blood Sisters’, ‘Invisible Woman’, ‘Grandmaster’, EFM Mid-Market Remains Soft
We’re four days into the EFM and so far action has been fairly slow. But just this afternoon, The Weinstein Co. picked up U.S. rights to IM Global’s Blood Sisters: Vampire Academy, one of the hotter projects coming into the market. It’s not a given that the deal will kickstart further movement, but other projects understood to be generating domestic interest include Nicole Kidman-starrer Grace Of Monaco, repped by CAA, and Diana, with Naomi Watts, which Embankment is handling.
Other domestic deals include Sony Pictures Classics‘ acquisition of The Invisible Woman, a film to star Ralph Fiennes, Felicity Jones and Fiennes’ English Patient partner Kristin Scott Thomas. Fiennes also directs. And, The Weinstein Co. announced a deal for Wong Kar Wai’s opening night (out of competition) film The Grandmaster at the start of the fest. It’s fair to say that Berlin is not traditionally about the kind of big business that’s seen in Sundance, Toronto or Cannes.
Berlin: So Much For Bad Blood Between Harvey And Megan Ellison; TWC Acquires Wong Kar Wai’s ‘The Grandmaster’
BREAKING: I’ve read about the supposed bad blood between Harvey Weinstein and Annapurna Pictures principal Megan Ellison over the subpar box office grosses of The Master. But any idea they’re not doing business together seems to be a bit crunched by a new deal they’ve just made. The Weinstein Company has acquired all rights in the U.S. and English-speaking Canadian territories from Annapurna on Wong Kar Wai’s The Grandmaster, which premieres tonight as the opening film at the Berlin Film Festival. TWC also landed rights to Australia, New Zealand, and the UK from Wild Bunch.
The Grandmaster, written by Wong, Zou Jingzhi, and Xu Haofeng, was executive produced by Ellison (she has money in the movie), and produced by Jacky Pang and Wong. The film opened to critical praise last month in China and has just reached over $50 million at the box office there, making it the director’s highest-grossing film in his career.
I’m sure there is uneasiness between Ellison and Weinstein. In an interview I did with him at Sundance, Weinstein acknowledged their mutual disappointment over The Master and how it didn’t break out, with Ellison not coming near recouping the $35 million or so that she spent to make the film. In hindsight, Weinstein felt he could have helped by selling the more relate-able theme of the homebound warrior who’s lost and looking for something to believe in, rather than the origins of Scientology theme that stuck with the film and didn’t get a strong response.
It is an epic martial arts drama set against the tumultuous backdrop of 1930s China and inspired by the life and times of the legendary IP Man (Tony Leung), mentor to Bruce Lee. The story focuses on two kung fu masters, IP Man, and Gong Er, and as their worlds collide on the night of the Japanese invasion in 1936. The plot encompasses themes of war, family, revenge, desire, love, and memory. The all-star cast headed by Tony Leung Chiu Wa also includes Ziyi Zhang, Chang Chen, Xiao Shengyang and Song Hye Kyo as well as hundreds of Asia’s top martial artists.
The Grandmaster is an epic martial arts drama set against the tumultuous backdrop of 1930’s China and inspired by the life and times of the legendary IP Man (Tony LEUNG Chiu Wai), mentor to Bruce LEE. The plot encompasses themes of war, family, revenge, desire, love, and memory. The all-star cast headed by Tony LEUNG Chiu Wai (Days of Being Wild – Berlinale Forum 1991, Chungking Express, Happy Together, In The Mood for Love, 2046, all directed by WONG Kar Wai), also includes Ziyi ZHANG (Crouching Tiger and Hidden Dragon, D: Ang Lee), who was a guest at the 2009 Berlinale Competition with Forever Enthralled (D: CHEN Kaige), CHANG Chen (Crouching Tiger and Hidden Dragon; Eros, D: WONG Kar Wai), ZHAO Benshan (Happy Times, D: ZHANG Yimou), XIAO Shengyang (A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop, D: ZHANG Yimou – Berlinale Competition 2010) and SONG Hye Kyo (A Reason to Live, D: LEE Jeong-hyang), as well as hundreds of Asia’s top martial artists.