Cannes: Weinstein Starts Buying with ‘Dragon,’ Nears ‘Artist’ Deal

Weinstein Company acquires martial arts film from Peter Ho-Sun Chan, pursues silent comedy from Michel Hazanavicius

The Weinstein Company has moved quickly at Cannes, announcing the acquisition of the martial arts film "Dragon" ("Wu Xia") and reportedly nearing a deal for the black-and-white period comedy "The Artist."

While Cannes has seen a flurry of first-day deal announcements, most have concerned films in the marketplace rather than the film festival itself — and for the most part, most are deals or projects that have been in the works for some time, but have waited to announce in the international media spotlight that Cannes provides.

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Dragon (Wu Xia)But the two Weinstein acquisitions — one confirmed, the other widely expected — have come on films that are part of the official festival lineup, not the sprawling Marche du Cinema marketplace.

"Dragon," which was announced in Cannes' Midnight Selection under the title "Swordsmen," is described in the TWC press release as "an action-packed tale of crime, family and redemption." It was directed by Peter Ho-Sun Chan ("The Warlords") and stars an international cast that includes kung fu star Jimmy Wang Yu in his first film appearance in 17 years.

TWC acquired the rights to distribute the film throughout the world, with the exception of Asia and French-speaking Europe. Its U.S. release is expected to take place in the fall.

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The company is also reportedly near a deal for "The Artist," a change-of-pace for director Michel Hazanavicius, best known for the spy-movie spoofs "OSS 117: Lost in Rio" and "OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies." His new film is a silent comedy set in 1927 Hollywood, and starring an international cast that includes John Goodman, Jean Dujardin, James Cromwell and Penelope Ann Miller.

"The Artist," originally scheduled to screen out of competition, was a last-minute addition to the festival's main competition lineup.