Ivanhoe Pictures and Beijing Galloping Horse Film Co have acquired the Chinese theatrical and all platform rights for the John Carney-directed Begin Again. Starring Keira Knightley, Mark Ruffalo, Hailee Steinfeld and Adam Levine, Begin Again is a comedy about a dejected music business executive who forms a bond with a young singer-songwriter new to Manhattan. The film premiered at the 2013 Toronto Film Festival and opens in North America and Europe this summer. Ivanhoe and Galloping Horses’ acquisition of the title will bring it to Asian markets.
While Begin Again (then titled Can A Song Save Your Life) was the biggest deal at Toronto when The Weinstein Company acquired North American rights, how will Carney’s music-infused film fare in China? Ivanhoe is fullish, partly as co-star and Maroon 5 frontman Levine is very popular in China. Some of that is through the appetite for The Voice. A version of the show is produced for China, but the version on which he’s a host also has awareness even though it isn’t on the dial there. It’s the first major acquisition for Ivanhoe Pictures since it was also launched out of the 2013 Toronto Film Festival to fund and produce film and TV projects with global appeal, particularly in China, India, Korea and Japan. The venture was hatched by financier Robert Friedland and vet producer John Penotti and Beijing based executive Ray Chen. The company is also in development on Kevin Kwan’s Crazy Rich Asians and have embarked on a four year, multi-picture co-financing deal with Fox International Productions for local language films in five markets across Asia. The deal was negotiated by Ronan Wong for Beijing Galloping Horse and Brian Kornreich for Ivanhoe Pictures and Alex Walton on behalf of Exclusive.