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WB, Emperor keep ‘Connected’

Duo team for Chinese remake

Warner Bros. has teamed with Hong Kong’s Emperor Motion Pictures for a rare Chinese remake of a Hollywood movie. Benny Chan will direct.

“Connected” is a retread of New Line’s cell phone-based kidnap actioner “Cellular.”

Pic is in production in Hong Kong and skedded for delivery in the fourth quarter. It stars Louis Koo, Barbie Hsu, Nick Cheung and Liu Ye

Production is through WB’s mainland Chinese joint venture company Warner China Film HG and Emperor. Warner China Film will distribute in China, while Emperor has all rights elsewhere, including North America.

Pic’s $4.5 million budget was put up by Warner China Film, Emperor and new mainland Chinese movie investor BNJ. Cell phone manufacturer Motorola is a sponsor.

The script went through many rewrites before returning to a version very close to the 2004 original, and scripters Larry Cohen and Chris Morgan are expected to receive a credit.

Remake is said to have been greenlit by China Film Group topper Han San Ping, who figures it may appeal to the country’s cell phone-mad population.

As of September China had 443 million cell phone subscribers, a total that is growing by 5 million every month.

The largest network operator, China Mobile, has more than 349 million subs — a total bigger than the entire U.S. population.

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