Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Ong-Bak 2 picked up by Magnolia


Once again, the good folks at Magnolia have come to the rescue, making a deal for the U.S. rights to Ong-Bak 2. The deal was announced yesterday at the European Film Market in Berlin.

Here's the press release:

The Wagner/Cuban Companies’ Magnolia Pictures announced today that it has acquired U.S. rights to the Thai martial arts epic Ong-Bak 2. The highly anticipated sequel to Ong Bak: The Thai Warrior, a big success for Magnolia and one the most exciting new action properties of the last decade, Ong-Bak 2 is directed by star Tony Jaa, and delivers even more impressive martial arts wizardry that its predecessor. The film was originally released in Thailand in December of 2008, and will be released theatrically by Magnet (Magnolia’s genre label) later this year.

“When we first saw the original Ong-Bak, after picking our jaws off the floor, we knew we wanted to be in the Tony Jaa business. It put us on the map as a home for the best in genre fare, and helped make our genre label Magnet possible,” said Magnolia President Eamonn Bowles. “We’re beyond thrilled to be able to carry the franchise forward and continue our relationship with Tony, Sahamongkol, and the entire creative team involved.”

“We are exceptionally happy with the deal with Magnolia,” said Gilbert Lim, executive vice president of Sahamongkol Film International. “They did a wonderful job with the release of the original Ong-Bak, and it feels great to be back in business again with Ong-Bak 2. I am certain that the movie is in great hands.”

The deal was negotiated by Tom Quinn, senior vice President of Magnolia, with Gilbert Lim of Sahamongkol Film International. Ong-Bak 3 is currently in production, and is slated for a December 2009 opening in Thailand.

Magnolia acquired EuropaCorp's version of the original Ong-Bak, which had been trimmed a bit and rescored. But other than that blip, the company has been releasing Thai movies uncut. They rescued Tears of the Black Tiger from the vaults of Miramax, which under Harvey Weinstein had changed the ending and then dumped the movie. Other releases on Magnolia/Magnet include Mum Jokmok's The Bodyguard (1 and 2), Dynamite Warrior, Sick Nurses, Mercury Man and just this week, Chocolate.

I think fans, and Sahamongkol, are extremely lucky to have a company like Magnolia around. With the economy in turmoil and less spending happening, deals like this are going to become increasingly rare. Enjoy it while it lasts.

Also, I guess you can forgot about the Hong Kong DVD having English subtitles. Just wait a little longer.

Update: Magnolia outbid several other companies to acquire the film, according to Screen Daily.

(Via TwitchFilm.net, Kung Fu Cinema, 24 Frames per Second)

5 comments:

  1. ...it's got to be about a year away for a DVD though.

    nice to see it picked up, but I'd hope for a shortening if the window to avoid any
    potential manipulation of the international competition. some companies seem to be trying to do this, so it's a shame others aren't yet pushing to be more positive and global in their perspectives.

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  2. If there were a company that understands narrowing the window it'd be Mark Cuban and Magnolia, so I'm surprised that it's going to take so long. I would have thought they'd try for a summer release, maybe even a slot at a prominent upcoming U.S. festival?

    I guess they need time to prepare the English dub track. But is it really necessary?

    The movie is already on the torrent sites, thanks to videocam leaks in Thai cinemas, despite the rigorous security and metal detectors. The more they try to clamp down, the more things squeeze through.

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  3. Not such good news, it means that the current European festivals aren't allowed to show the original Thai versions, but instead have to show Europacorp's re-edited version. Which of course isn't ready yet at least for Chocolate. So instead we have to wait longer, to see version which isn't even the original. I wish Luc Besson would realise that actually Europeans might prefer to hear the original Thai score instead of some terrible French hiphop (as was added to the EU version of Ong Bak).

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  4. I thought I was pretty clear with regards to EuropaCorp: I was talking about the original Ong-Bak, made in 2003 and released overseas in 2005. I'm not sure who in Europe has picked up Ong-Bak 2.

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  5. ...I take magnolias interest in ong bak 2 to be a rescue; a little too late to match, for example, the kind of long-term interest eureka took in "tokyo sonata", which resulted in a cinema (and may 2009 dvd / blu-ray) release sitting comfortably and closely against the Japanese release, without a long delay and without a sense of frustration or of having been short-changed or let down. they even avoided clashing the announcements to knock the wind out of each respective countries release, and it only starts to look odd when you see the slight lag on the american release. it's proof that it's possible to be ahead of the game that sees 99% of companies and licenses unintentionally (or otherwise) being manipulated out of an honest and worthwhile experience...

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