Two basketball movies are hitting Chinese screens in time for the Beijing Olympics, which kick off in August and are sure to prompt a rash of sports-related movies.
“Slam” is due to arrive on Feb. 1 and tells the story of a group of teenage players in Beijing.
Also set for release around Chinese New Year is “Kung Fu Dunk,” a high school-set martial arts actioner and one of the biggest-budgeted movies to emerge from Taiwan in recent years. Film’s name was changed from “Slam Dunk” to avoid confusion with a comicbook franchise of the same name.
Film’s cast is headed by pop superstar Jay Chou, who made his bigscreen debut in “Curse of the Golden Flower.” It reunites him with “Golden Flower” action director Ching Siu-tung and cinematographer Zhao Xiaoding. Working with a $10 million budget, pic is directed by veteran helmer Kevin Chu Yin-ping. It also stars starlet Charlene Choi, Taiwanese model Chen Bo-ling and Hong Kong’s Eric Tsang.
“Slam” features Lin Xiaofan, who has starred in various skeins in China, and Zhang Yishan. Zhang hosts the basketball show “Made in NBA,” broadcast on more than 40 channels across the country.
Pic is helmed by “Made in NBA” director Jonathan Lim.
Basketball is a substitute religion in China, particularly due to the popularity of Houston Rockets center Yao Ming.