Joint venture to produce European-Chinese action thrillers
Two of the biggest names in European and Chinese movie biz, Pierre-Ange Le Pogam at Paris’ Stone Angels and Bruno Wu at China’s Seven Stars, have created Angel Storm, a joint venture to develop and produce action thrillers and franchises with global appeal.
First projects on Angel Storm’s slate are “Shanghai,” to go into production early 2014, and “Triangle.”
Wu and Le Pogam will produce. Stone Angels will handle distribution rights in France, Seven Stars will distribute in China. Films will have European and Chinese talent and settings: “Shanghai” reportedly moves from southern France to Shanghai. Le Pogam will arrange international and U.S. distribution.
Wu was very busy in the global entertainment scene last year. In February 2012 he announced the creation of an $800 million film fund, with help from CAA. He also pacted with helmer Justin Lin to create Perfect Storm Entertainment; backed John H. Lee’s remake of John Woo’s “The Killer”; and launched a joint production venture with Marvel Studios founder Avi Arad to create movies based on Chinese super-heroes.
Wu said at Cannes Thursday he has an exec producer credit and Chinese distribution rights on James Gray’s “The Immigrant” plus Chinese rights to Cannes players “Only God Forgives” (Nicolas Winding-Refn) and “Blood Ties” (Guillaume Canet). France’s Wild Bunch sells all three movies.
Wu exec produces Stone Angel’s upcoming “Grace of Monaco,” with Nicole Kidman.
Angel Storm is less ambitious than the CAA-backed fund, which has yet to reveal how much money it has raised or what its first investments will be.
On Angel Storm, Wu will partner with Le Pogam who co-founded EuropaCorp in 2000 with Luc Besson, leading a company that produces hit action thrillers — think the “Taken” and “Transporter” franchises — on contained budgets.
Le Pogam is highly-connected in Hollywood, having negotiated U.S. domestic distrib deals for EuropaCorp actioners.
For Wu, Angel Storm is a longterm bet on the dramatic growth potential of China’s box office. Angel Storm movies would be official French-Chinese co-productions, avoiding the restrictive distribution quota for foreign movies in China, plus offering opportunities for Chinese talent to break out far more in English-language movies.
Rachel Abrams contributed to this report