And Weinstein Wonders Why People Are Accusing Him of Racism …

hero2.jpgSo, you’re Miramax and you own the rights to an absolute masterwork of Asian cinema that goes by the title of Hero. This thing’s so good that it netted itself a best foreign film Oscar nomination over the film that your company sunk all of its marketing money into. So what do you do? Do you ride that bit of awards news into a strong marketing campaign? Nope. Do you put out a trailer that shows people just how incredible the visuals in this film are? Nope. Do you ride the hell out of the star power of Jet Li and Zhang Ziyi – two of the most recognizable Asian stars in the Western world? Nope. How ’bout working the reputation of acclaimed art house director Zhang Yimou? Nope. Any sane company would have done all of these things, but not Miramax. Here’s what they did: pledge 20 mil towards the production costs to secure the rights to the film, never bother to actually pay out their share, then sit on the film for ALMOST TWO YEARS and threaten lawsuits against anybody who imports the official Chinese DVDs which, by the way, released well over a year ago.

So what does it take to get Miramax to finally release a universally acclaimed film like this? A phone call from Quentin Tarantino, the only really bankable director in Miramax’s stable and evidently the only one who even remotely understands or cares about Asian film in the whole damn place. If this was a European film it would’ve hit theaters in months regardless of quality – see Benigni’s crapfest Pinocchio and the treatment (ie original cut and language perfectly well preserved on DVD there but never – ABSOLUTELY NEVER – on their Asian product) it received for proof – but because Hero’s stars are all slanty eyed it sits on the shelf bloody well forever until the white knight rides in to save the day.

Good on Quentin. Bad on Weinstein. The film’s now supposed to release in June. Read the article in Fangoria here.

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