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By Mark Bell | September 22, 2010

Magnet Releasing has snatched up the U.S. rights to Takashi Miike’s latest, “13 Assassins.” The film recently played the Venice and Toronto film festivals, and is the current closing night film of the 2010 Fantastic Fest (which gets underway this week). From the official press release:

The Wagner/Cuban Company’s Magnet Releasing, genre arm of Magnolia Pictures announced today that it has acquired US rights to Takashi Miike’s samurai masterpiece, 13 ASSASSINS. 13 ASSASSINS, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival, recently had its North American premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, and has just been named as the Closing Night film at this year’s Fantastic Fest in Austin. A gorgeously realized, bravura samurai action film in the tradition of Seven Samurai, 13 ASSASSINS is being hailed as one of the best films of Miike’s prolific career.

Set in 1844 Japan, and based on a 1963 film of the same name, 13 ASSASSINS stars Koji Yakusho (Tokyo Sonata and Babel), and brings together the cream of Japan’s acting talent. Yakusho plays a brave samurai who assembles an elite team of thirteen killers to assassinate the brother of the Shogun, a sadistic and well protected young lord who’s above the law, raping and killing innocents with impunity. The film culminates in a mind-blowing, forty-five minute battle sequence that rivals anything seen before in the genre.

The US deal was negotiated by Magnet SVP Tom Quinn and Hanway Films CEO Tim Haslam. 13 ASSASSINS will be released theatrically by Magnet in the first quarter of 2011.

“Miike returns with a vengeance in this mother-of-all Samurai films,” said Tom Quinn, Magnet SVP. “We could not be more honored to welcome one of the world’s greatest genre masters and this instant classic into the Magnet family.”

HanWay sold over 20 territories in Toronto including Canada (Alliance), Australia/NZ (Icon), and Italy (BIM). A deal for the UK will be announced shortly.

13 ASSASSINS will soon screen at the upcoming London Film Festival. It was executive-produced by RPC’s Jeremy Thomas, who has long held a reputation for breaking Asian titles into the international market, most notably Bernardo Bertolucci’s nine-time Oscar winner The Last Emperor, Nagisa Ôshima’s Merry Christmas, Mr Lawrence and Takeshi Kitano’s Brother. Thomas partnered with Sedic International head Toshiaki Nakazawa (producer of the Oscar-winning Departures and Miike’s Sukiyaki Western Django), and TV Asahi’s Takashi Hirajo. Toho Co., Ltd will release the film in Japan on September 25th.

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