EXCLUSIVE: The Weinstein Company has closed a deal for United Kingdom and Australian distribution rights to The Grandmasters, the Wong Kar-wai-directed Chinese language martial arts film. Harvey Weinstein is among a small group vying for domestic rights, with Fox Searchlight and Sony Pictures Classics also in the mix. TWC’s investment was north of $1 million for the offshore rights. Buyers were shown about 15 minutes of expertly choreographed martial arts footage, and also were given a 5-page synopsis of the film. Distributors are going on faith that the director’s vision holds together in a cohesive story. The film is the life story of the martial artist Ip Man, and Tony Leung, Zhang Ziyi and Chang Chen are in the cast. CAA is repping The Grandmasters.
The Grandmasters was one of the hottest titles to be shown to buyers at Berlin, where Megan Ellison’s Annapurna Productions became an investor in the film for a rumored $3 million. The other title that has buyers reaching for their wallets is Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, the Tomas Alfredson-directed adaptation of the John Le Carre thriller that stars Gary Oldman, Colin Firth and Tom Hardy. Both Oldman and Hardy next star in The Dark Knight Rises.