Warner China, Ning reteam for 'Racer'

Warner China Film HG will reunite with China’s hottest helmer of the moment, Ning Hao, for “Crazy Racer,” another high-octane tale of Chinese urban life.

Announcement Friday capitalizes on momentum from “Crazy Stone,” the low-budget laffer that marked the company’s bow as a Chinese distrib. “Stone” has rolled up more than RMB20 million ($2.5 million) at the mainland B.O. to become the second-highest grossing Chinese film of the year so far.

Warner China Film HG is a joint-venture production and distribution shingle that pools resources from Warners, state body China Film and private-sector studio owner Hengdian Group. “Stone” was co-produced with Hong Kong’s Focus Films.

Although Ning’s next pic also uses “crazy” in its title, it isn’t a sequel.

“Crazy Racer,” which Ning is co-writing, will feature express deliverymen, traffic cops and lonely beauties, with a focus on speed and concurrent stories.

Ning, who has veered sharply from his arthouse roots, also promised more special effects than in “Crazy Stone” and plans to shoot on film rather than digital.

Project is gaining important official backing. Zhang Hongsen, Film Bureau VP under China regulator the State Administration of Radio, Film & Television, was full of praise for “Crazy Stone” and said he expected the new pic to achieve better B.O. than its predecessor.

That should mean “Racer” will have little difficulty with script approval from the censors. Start date has not been locked, but release is skedded for October 2007.

In addition to “Crazy Stone,” Warner China Film slate currently includes “Telephone 601,” which it co-financed and co-distributed with Shanghai Film Group, as well as the upcoming Sino-Finnish fantasy outing “Jade Warrior.”

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