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Wednesday, 9 October, 2002, 09:17 GMT 10:17 UK
Japan first to see Scorsese's Gangs
Diaz, Scorsese,  DiCaprio and producer Harvey Weinstein
Diaz and DiCaprio star in Scorsese's new film
Japanese audiences will be the first to see Martin Scorsese's new film Gangs of New York.

The movie, which stars Leonardo DiCaprio, opens in Japan on 21 December - four days ahead of its US opening.

Miramax Films offered no explanation for the move, but said its plans were subject to change.

The timing of the film's release has already been the subject of industry speculation.

Cameron Diaz
Diaz plays Jenny Everdeane
Its plans to open on Christmas Day have placed it on a collision course with another DiCaprio film, DreamWorks' Catch Me If You Can.

Miramax's decision to open in Japan could be a part of a strategy aimed at creating extra publicity for the film, industry magazine Variety said.

The tactic worked for Titanic, whose screening at the Tokyo Film Festival in November 1997 created a sensation which swept away bad publicity surrounding budget overruns and production problems.

DiCaprio factor

But DiCaprio's role in the film may also be a factor - the actor is hugely popular in Japan.

His film The Beach made more money overseas than in the US, where it made $39.8m.

Internationally, it made $103.5m - $15.2m of which was in Japan.

Gangs of New York was originally supposed to open at Christmas 2001.

But in the wake of the 11 September attacks on New York, Miramax announced that it was pushing the opening back to 12 July.

A few months later, the date changed once again, and the première was rescheduled for Christmas of this year.

See also:

20 May 02 | Film
21 Sep 00 | Entertainment
23 Oct 99 | Tom Brook
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