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Producers Bob, Harvey Weinstein Launch Asian Film Fund

Hollywood producers Bob and Harvey Weinstein said Wednesday they have launched a $285 million movie fund that will invest in Asian-themed projects, such as a remake of the 1954 Akira Kurosawa classic "The Seven Samurai."

Chinese media reported earlier that "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" star Zhang Ziyi has signed on for two projects.

The movie company founded by the Weinstein brothers, New York-based The Weinstein Co., also said in a statement it has invested in "The Forbidden Kingdom," the first movie featuring both Jackie Chan and Jet Li, which is filming in China.

The Weinstein Co. said it hopes to take advantage of lower costs by shooting in Asia while adding a "Western sensibility" to produce movies that appeal to both Asian and Western markets.

It said the Asian film fund aims to either produce or buy the rights to 21 movie productions and 10 straight-to-video productions that will be released through its Dragon Dynasty label, which director Quentin Tarantino will help manage. Tarantino is known for his interest in Hong Kong film.

The Weinstein brothers founded Miramax, which became part of the independent film movement in the 1990s and produced several high-grossing movies.

The Walt Disney Co. bought Miramax in the early 1990s, but the Weinstein brothers continued to run the studio until 2005, when they left to form The Weinstein Co.