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Chen Kaige’s ‘Demon Cat’ Picked Up by Moonstone, Emperor (EXCLUSIVE)

Variety logo Variety 5/17/2017 Patrick Frater
© Provided by Variety

Moonstone Entertainment and Hong Kong’s Emperor Motion Pictures will share sales duties on “Legend of the Demon Cat,” the latest film from Palme d’Or winning Chinese director Chen Kaige.

A period action drama, the film sees a Chinese poet and a Japanese monk join forces to investigate the influence of a demonic cat, which has possessed a general’s wife, wreaked havoc on the royal court and killed legendary courtesan Yang Guifei. The film, originally presented under the title “Kukai,” is adapted from a bestselling four-volume novel about love, death and revenge by Yumemakura Baku.

The film is structured as a Japan-China co-production involving China’s New Classics Media and Japan’s Kadokawa. Hong Kong’s Emperor boarded later. The international cast is headed by Sometani Shota and Huang Xuan, as well as Keiko Matsuzaka (“The Happiness of the Katakuris”).

International sales are split. Emperor is handling South Asia, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Kadokawa is in charge of Japan and South Korea, and is expected to handle the Japanese release in association with Toho. New Classics Media is in charge of the China release. All other territories, including North and South America and Europe, are handled by Moonstone.

Moonstone is headed by Etchie Stroh, who has previously produced several films by Chen. Chen has appeared five times in competition at the Cannes Film Festival, with pictures including “Temptress Moon,” “Life on a String” and “The Emperor and the Assassin.” He won the competition in 1993 with “Farewell My Concubine.”

Production of “Demon Cat” involved thousands of extras, 15,000 costumes and 150 shooting days, spread over three seasons. It also saw the construction of a city set, estimated to have cost $200 million, that will be turned into an amusement park after filming is completed.

With some 1,200 visual effects, the film is now in post-production in Japan, ahead of an anticipated 2018 release. Moonstone will screen footage at its office in Cannes.

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