English-subbed films

MileFilms@aol.com MileFilms
Tue Mar 7 08:03:12 EST 2000

Well, something I can contribute! Kitano's films were not released in the US 
for sometime for several reasons:

Primarily, Shochiku valued his work (at least financially) and asked for 
large advances that no distributor thought was realistic. They waited for 
years before they took a smaller though considerable fee from Winstar (though 
I don't know the exact advance, I suspect it was smaller than the original 
asking price).

Miramax did acquire Sonatine but shelved it like they did to many, many films 
of that time period. They said that they shelved it because Kitano refused to 
come to the US to promote the film. He came to the country for us and 
Hana-Bi, so I don't know how valid this excuse was.

It took so short a time for Hana-Bi to be picked up because we loved the film 
and mortgaged the farm (an expression -- we actually took out a sizeable 
loan) to acquire and release it. At the same time, there were four other 
companies bidding on it so it would have come out sooner than later anyway.

As for the U.S. picking up his other films, I would like to think that our 
critical and financial success with Hana-Bi (it was the second or third 
highest-grossing foreign language film of that year at $660,000) gave rise to 
Kitano's popularity. (He did promise us his next three films, but I don't 
hold it against him.) 

Dennis Doros
Milestone Film & Video

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