Reasons for Viacom18’s withdrawal are unclear. “We had every intent to collaborate with ‘Kung Fu Yoga.’ However things didn’t work out as planned,” said Viacom 18 in an emailed statement. “But we are optimistic about more such partnerships in the future.”
The film is directed by Stanley Tong (“Rumble In The Bronx,” “Jackie Chan’s First Strike”) and also stars Sonu Sood, actress Ileana, Hong Kong’s Aarif Rahman and Chinese character actor Zhang Guoli.
The withdrawal means that one of the very few film co-productions involving India and China, has lost its Indian partner. Viacom18 is one of the biggest Bollywood studios, has connections in Indian TV and is also one of the few Indian companies with its own multi-territory distribution structure.
The Chinese production companies Shinework Media and Taihe, did not respond to Variety’s enquiries.
The two countries have long been political rivals and their film industries have been at vastly different stages of development, though recently Chinese and Indian industry regulators have met and agreed to cooperate.
A number of producers have aspired to make a movie that can play in the world’s two most populous nations, but few have even got into production.
In September, Eros International, the powerhouse global distribution and production finance outfit, agreed to partner with China Film Corporation and Shanghai Film Group on “Monk Xuan Zang.” No production date has been announced.
Before that the Indian-originated action comedy “From Chandni Chowk to China” was an embarrassing 2009 flop for veteran producer Ramesh Sippy and Warner Bros. Another, trailed in consumer media since 2010, “Gold Struck,” to be produced by Hong Kong’s Lighthouse Productions, has also seen backers come and go.