Mandarin Films to produce martial arts film

HONG KONG — Barely three weeks into the theatrical run for “Ip Man,” a sequel to the chopsocky period drama is already being fast-tracked into production, according to the film’s producer.

Raymond Wong Pak-Ming, who is also founder of the film’s Hong Kong production shingle Mandarin Films, confirmed that “Ip Man 2″ is skedded for a June start, with principal photography expected to last until October.

The sequel will cost upward of HK$40 million ($5.1 million) with helmer Wilson Yip and star Donnie Yen (“Shanghai Knights”) returning. Mandarin Films is aiming for a release towards the end of 2010.

Pic continues the story of martial- arts expert Ip Man’s escape from Japanese occupied China into Hong Kong.

The first pic has done exceptionally well at the local box office, grossing $2.8 million in its three weeks of release in Hong Kong. The film has also been cleaning up in regional charts, taking over $1.65 million in Singapore and some $9.9 million in Mainland China.

The film has chalked up its first European sale to U.K. distributor Showbox.

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