‘Bodyguards and Assassins’ sells at AFM

By Patrick Frater

HONG KONG — Big-budget Chinese period thriller “Bodyguards and Assassins” has been sold by We Distribution to four territories at the beginning of the American Film Market.

E1 Entertainment picked up the film for the U.K. and Canada, while CJ Entertainment bought it for South Korea and Gulf Films took it for the Middle East.

The $23 million film directed by Teddy Chan is set in early 20th century Hong Kong with all the action taking place on the day of a failed assassination attempt on Sun Yat-sen. Its all-star cast includes Donnie Yen, Tony Leung Ka-fai, Leon Lai and Simon Yam.

” ‘Bodyguards and Assassins’ caters to the intelligence and appetites of China’s increasingly sophisticated and fast-expanding audiences. I am also thrilled that we have phenomenal response from territories outside mainland China,” producer Peter Chan Ho-sun said.

The film is already destined for a wide Asian release Dec. 18 with distribution handled in Taiwan by Applause Entertainment, in Singapore by MediaCorp. Raintree Pictures and Festive Films, in Malaysia by RAM Entertainment, in Thailand by United Home Entertainment and UIP, in Indonesia by PT Teguh Bakti and in Vietnam by Parkit Films. CJ will release the picture in Korea in January.

Production is by Cinema Popular, a joint venture between Chan, Huang Jianxin and Bona which was launched this year.

Cinema Popular also is shopping its action-romantic comedy “The Return of the Incredible Wu Xia Couple,” directed by Vincent Kuk, and Dante Lam’s period actioner “Flying Guillotines” at AFM.