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Celestial Pictures to make Shaw Brothers library available on iTunes

Anita Mui and Leslie Cheung in Behind the Yellow Line, now available at the iTunes store

Hong Kong’s Celestial Pictures has taken heed of the 81 per cent rise in online streaming by becoming one of the first production studios to place their films on Apple’s iTunes Store, which became available in the Far East this July.

 The diversified Chinese media company’s Shaw Brothers library  - which includes titles like Leslie Cheung’s Behind the Yellow Line, Gordon Liu’s The 36th Chamber of Shaolin and Stephen Chow’s Out of the Dark - will be made available to subscribers on the platform for the first time.

Shaw Brothers Film Library is the world’s largest Chinese film collection, with over 760 feature films originally released over half a century’s time frame – including some of the best martial arts films ever made.

Celestial have digitally restored the films frame-by-frame, and have previously distributed in cinemas and on home video, television, and new media markets worldwide.

The company is also active in producing new filmed content, both original and based on the Shaw Brothers Film Library.

The deal with iTunes will be a significant step for Celestial and cinema in the region as a whole. Before this July, the only countries in the Far East territory to have access to movies in the iTunes Store  were Japan, Australia and New Zealand.

But Apple launched movie streaming this July in Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Sri Lanka and Vietnam.  China, India and Indonesia have so far not been included.

“We are very excited to showcase iconic titles from the world’s largest Chinese movie collection on the iTunes Store for the first time,” says Gigi Ko, Director of Distribution at Celestial Pictures. “Fans of Shaw Brothers movies can now enjoy our movies on iTunes through a Mac or PC, iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. We also hope to attract a whole new group of fans by exposing them to these cinematic gems including some of the best Kung Fu movies ever.”

The news comes as Celestial Pictures revealed that Ross Pollack, the company’s CEO for the past three years, has resigned from his the post to head up the Asian practice of management consultancy company Insigniam.

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