Fox releasing 'Miss Bala' and 'The Yellow Sea' in U.S.
EXCLUSIVE: Fox Intl. Prods., the studio’s busy local-language production arm for overseas releases, is about to give some of its slate a specialty theatrical push in the U.S.: Gerardo Naranjo’s Mexican crime drama “Miss Bala,” and Hong-Jim Na’s South Korean crime thriller “The Yellow Sea” will get a limited domestic release through 20th Century Fox, Variety's Gregg Goldstein exclusively reports.
Studio has not yet set a date for the FIP pics. The new initiative comes just three months after Fox announced its Fox World Cinema label, designed to capitalize on the North American ancillary value of FIP films.
D² Films prexy David Dinerstein is working with Fox to strategize domestic marketing and distribution for both pics.
Some earlier FIP titles (such as last year’s Indian romantic drama “My Name Is Khan”) have unspooled via Searchlight or bypassed U.S. theaters entirely. “Miss Bala” premiered in Cannes’ Un Certain Regard section this May and has secured a spot in both the Toronto Film Festival’s Contemporary World Cinema lineup and the New York Film Festival this fall.
A domestic release is expected to follow the latter.
“Bala,” exec produced by Gael Garcia Bernal, Diego Luna and Geminiano Pineda, is a co-production of Canana and FIP. “The Yellow Sea” (aka “The Murderer”) also played in Cannes’ Un Certain Regard section after its December 2010 Korean release and earned star Jung-woo Ha best actor kudos at the Asian Film Awards.
“Sea” is a Popcorn Film production in association with Showbox/Mediaplex Inc. and FIP.
Under head Sanford Panitch, FIP produces some 25 films a year, only some of which are considered a good fit for a U.S. release. FIP and other studio local-language production divisions generally aim for fare more commercial than typical U.S. foreign-language arthouse releases, usually designed for specific territories and not expected to be released domestically, so this initiative is fairly uncharted territory for a studio.
Sony’s international arm released “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” via its Classics arm more than a decade ago to wild success, but few examples of such synergy have followed. Music Box’s success with its “Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” trilogy of thrillers may be influencing Fox and some other studios to rethink the potential of their foreign-language fare. Dinerstein’s D² outfit has seen big success with this year’s roadshow rollout of Kevin Smith’s “Red State,” racking up big box office by tying screenings to Smith’s popular lecture appearances. Prior to establishing his consultancy, Dinerstein was prexy of Lakeshore Entertainment and co-prexy of Paramount Classics.