×

China Strengthens Ties with Hollywood

Huayi Brothers backs Brad Pitt-starrer 'Fury'

SHANGHAI — Most of the buzz at the Shanghai Intl. Film Festival has been about increased cooperation between Hollywood and China.

Among the busiest Chinese private shingles in this respect has been Huayi Brothers, which unveiled its slate for the remainder of this year and next year, including the Brad Pitt-starring WW2 drama, “Fury.” Huayi Brothers will co-produce “Fury” with QED.

“Firstly we are going to cooperate with more and more directors, and those directors will bring us more imagination and new genres. Secondly it will help those directors have a better idea of the Chinese market. We will provide them with ideas to produce specialized films for the audience,” Wang Zhonglei, Huayi Brothers co-founder and prexy, said in an interview with Variety.

Earlier in the fest, Huayi unveiled two projects with Jackie Chan: “Manhattan,” which will be set in Gotham, and “Wolf Flag,” set in the desert. Both are skedded for release next year.

A big factor in Huayi’s success has been the influence on its bottom line of China’s most bankable helmer, Feng Xiaogang. He made his mark with hugely popular comedies like “Cellphone,” but in recent years has concentrated on more serious subjects.

His latest movie, “Personal Tailor,” is a laffer and is due to bow in December.

The slate features movies by local favorite Gu Changwei, Taiwanese Doze Niu, and Hong Kong helmers Mabel Cheung and Alex Law.

Wang spoke of how the Chinese market had its own characteristics, which meant that a certain flexibility was necessary.

“The Chinese market is different. The screening market and moviegoers are yet to be developed. Long term the market will be boosted. But there will be changes to content,” said Wang.

“There is plenty of money in this market for different projects,” he said.

He said that the audiences were growing particularly strongly in the second and third-tier cities outside of Beijing and Shanghai, and that audiences in these smaller cities were looking for a different kind of film.

They particularly liked domestic movies, and favored blockbusters when choosing overseas movies.

“This could allow us to strike a balance in the Chinese film market,” said Wang.

“Also, the format of films are undergoing major changes, using the Internet rather than traditional media,” he said.

Elsewhere, the fourth instalment of the “Transformers” franchise is taking on a strong Chinese flavor, with Li Bingbing set to appear in the pic, and other Chinese thesps will be in the movie, chosen by reality TV show.

The producers announced their first Chinese commercial sponsors at an event in the Shanghai Film Museum at the fest. Beijing Pangu Investment has signed up with the pic’s co-producers Paramount and Jiaflix to use prominent architecture from the Chinese capital in the movie, including Pangu’s Plaza Hotel and the Bird’s Nest Olympic Stadium.

Chinese shingles China Film Group and Pegasus & Taihe Entertainment said they would invest $20 million in South Korea’s CJ Entertainment sci-fi movie, “The Fist,” which marks around 30% of the total budget.

It’s the largest investment ever from China in a Korean movie, and comes as the two Asian nations said they would start working on a co-production agreement.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Constance Wu and Jennifer Lopez star

    Jennifer Lopez's 'Criminal' Striptease: How 'Hustlers' Landed the Fiona Apple Hit

    Contrary to what you might be expecting, the number of songs by Jennifer Lopez, Lizzo and Cardi B in “Hustlers,” their newly released acting vehicle, adds up to … zero. Meanwhile, the standout music sync in a movie that’s full of them belongs to no less likely a choice than Fiona Apple. The scene in [...]

  • Game of Thrones Season 8

    'Game of Thrones,' 'Avengers' Win Big at 45th Annual Saturn Awards

    As Jamie Lee Curtis picked up her first trophy ever at the 45th Annual Saturn Awards Friday night, she had a good luck charm on her arm: former manager Chuck Binder, whom she said was the reason she became an actor. “I was in college and had no thought of being an actor,” Curtis told [...]

  • Jennifer Lopez and Constance Wu star

    Box Office: 'Hustlers' Dances Toward $32 Million Opening Weekend

    “Hustlers” is eyeing the biggest opening weekend ever for STXFilms, following a Friday domestic ticket haul of $13.1 million from 3,250 theaters. If estimates hold, the stripper saga could take home around $32 million come Sunday, marking the best live-action opening of Jennifer Lopez’s career. “Hustlers” follows a group of former strip club dancers, led [...]

  • Hustlers intimacy coordinator

    Meet the Stripper Consultant Who Gave 'Hustlers' Authenticity, Dignity and Sexual Freedom

    At last week’s Toronto Film Festival premiere of “Hustlers,” an audience of Hollywood heavyweights and Canadian locals applauded as a statuesque woman strutted on stage, rocking six-inch platform heels and a pastel tie-dye bodysuit. This adoration was not for stars Jennifer Lopez, Constance Wu or Keke Palmer, nor was it for the film’s acclaimed writer-director [...]

  • Kristen Stewart

    French Director Olivier Assayas Pays Tribute to Kristen Stewart at Deauville

    French director Olivier Assayas paid tribute to Kristen Stewart, whom he directed in “Clouds of Sils Maria” and “Personal Shopper,” at the Deauville American Film Festival on Friday evening. Stewart received a honorary award in Deauville before the French premiere of Benedict Andrews’s “Seberg” in which the actress stars as Jean Seberg, a French New [...]

  • Liam Gallagher: As It Was

    Film Review: 'Liam Gallagher: As It Was'

    Liam Gallagher is nearly as fascinating a rock ‘n’ roll figure as he thinks he is … which is saying a lot. After the breakup of Oasis, one of the most self-avowedly arrogant stars in pop culture found himself severely humbled, fighting to become relevant again without the help of Noel, his ex-bandmate and, for [...]

  • The Vast of Night

    Toronto Film Review: 'The Vast of Night'

    It’s the first high school basketball game of the season and all of Cayuga, N.M., population 492, is cheering on the Statesmen at the gym. Except for the town’s two brightest kids, Everett (Jake Horowitz) and Fay (Sierra McCormick), who are strolling through the empty darkness to their respective jobs as a radio DJ and [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content