×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Talent Is Key to Universe Entertainment’s Longevity

The entire cinematic landscape has been reshaped in the years since Universe Entertainment Ltd. set up business three decades ago.

Back then, founder Daneil Lam’s idea was that video distribution was the way forward — and at that time, it must have pretty much looked like a safe bet that the Hong Kong film industry would continue to thrive, and continue to release around 300 titles per year.

How times have changed. The Hong Kong industry has slowed, topping out at around 50 releases a year while being eclipsed by its neighbor in China. Video, meanwhile, has gone the way of the dodo.

Among the keys to Universe’s success throughout the entertainment business’ radical changes has been Lam and his team’s ability to adapt to market needs, and to find the right talent to work with. That has been evidenced since the early days of Universe’s involvement in feature films — with productions such as the Stephen Chow-helmed comedy hit “Shaolin Soccer” (2001), through to the groundbreaking work of horror and fantasy maestros Danny and Oxide Pang and the likes of “Re-Cycle” (2006) and “The Storm Warriors” (2009), and on to Benny Chan’s street-wise thrillers such as “The White Storm” (2013).

Universe general manager Alvin Lam says the secrets to the company’s longevity are simple.

“Dedication and determination, first and foremost, are the most important,” says Lam. “We think that making movies is about passion, and that pushes us away from staying on the same ground. Also, once we kick off a project, despite any hardship, we are determined to make it work and get it done to our best effort. Secondly, we love to work with different talented filmmakers. Without their trust and support, Universe couldn’t be successful.”

The company’s most recent success has been the Herman Yau-directed thriller “Shock Wave,” which knocked the biggest hit of the year in China so far, Hollywood actioner “The Fate of the Furious,” off its perch at the end of April, and after two weeks had an impressive $50 million in the bank, with an international rollout to follow.

“ ‘Shock Wave’ carries the essence of realism, intensity and pacing of a Hong Kong cop actioner and takes it to another level,” says Lam.

Universe has recently set up a branch in Beijing — under the China-Universe Matrix Century Films Distribution (Beijing) Co. Ltd. banner — and the company will soon release the latest effort from the Pang brothers with a working title of “Fraud Squad.”

“The film is shot mainly in China, our main cast members are highly popular Chinese actors and actresses, which serves the local China market perfectly, yet we are bringing the unique elements of Hong Kong cop action films to ‘Fraud Squad,’ ” explains Lam. “The pacing and direction of the film will be similar to Hong Kong-style action movies. It’s a groundbreaking trial for us, producing a film in China but with Hong Kong-style action elements. Universe shall continue to empower filmmakers to create movies in a typical Hong Kong style but with twist of contemporary elements.”

More Film

  • (L to R) VIGGO MORTENSEN and

    Green Book' Lands Post-Oscars Theatrical Release in China

    Fresh off Monday’s news that it had picked up five Academy Award nominations, best picture favorite “Green Book” is set for more good luck. The film will hit Middle Kingdom theaters on March 1, the first weekend after the Oscars, which fall on Feb 24, Alibaba Pictures said on its official social media account, on [...]

  • Fan Bingbing

    Chinese Celebrities Pay $1.7 Billion in Back Taxes Following Fan Bingbing Scandal

    Chinese film and TV stars have paid some $1.7 billion (RMB11.7 billion) of additional taxes, following the mid-2018 scandal surrounding actress Fan Bingbing. The figure was announced Tuesday by China’s State Tax Administration. Chinese authorities launched a probe into the taxation affairs of the entertainment sector in October. Companies and individuals were asked to examine [...]

  • Yalitza Aparicio as Cleo, Marco Graf

    Film News Roundup: AMC, Regal to Leave 'Roma' Out of Best Picture Showcases

    In today’s film news roundup, “Roma” will not be in the best picture showcases at AMC and Regal, “Jimi Hendrix: Electric Church” gets a release and SAG-AFTRA’s David White has a new appointment. ‘ROMA’ SPURNED AMC Theatres and Regal Cinemas are leaving Alfonso Cuaron’s “Roma” out of their upcoming annual showings of the contenders for [...]

  • First Look at SAG Awards' Cuban

    First Look at SAG Awards' Cuban-Inspired After-Party (EXCLUSIVE)

    Celebrities at this year’s SAG Awards won’t have to go far for some tropical fun. Sunday’s annual post-show gala, hosted by People magazine for the 23rd year, is set to feature a Cuban-themed party space adjacent to the Shrine Auditorium. “We’re kind of going back to more of a thematic element. I have some close [...]

  • Paul DavidsonVariety Big Data Summit Presented

    Listen: The Orchard's Paul Davidson on Surviving Sundance Bidding Wars

    Hollywood heads to Park City, Utah this week in the hopes of finding the next big Sundance Film Festival breakout. Paul Davidson, executive vice president of film and television at The Orchard, plans to be in the thick of it. In today’s edition of Variety‘s “Strictly Business” podcast, Davidson opens up about The Orchard’s strategy [...]

  • Young Tony Soprano in 'Sopranos' Movie:

    James Gandolfini's Son Michael Gandolfini Cast as Tony Soprano in 'Sopranos' Movie

    Michael Gandolfini, son of the late James Gandolfini, will play the young Tony Soprano in “The Many Saints of Newark,” the  prequel movie to the television series “The Sopranos.” “It’s a profound honor to continue my dad’s legacy while stepping into the shoes of a young Tony Soprano,” Gandolfini said. “I’m thrilled that I am [...]

  • Bradley Cooper A Star Is Born

    The Message of the Oscar Nominations: You'd Better Have a Social Message

    Each year at the Left Coast crack of dawn, when the Oscar nominations are announced, there’s generally at least one major nomination many pundits were predicting that fails to materialize. When that happens, entertainment media tends to rise up as one and say the s-word: snub. In truth, it’s not usually a snub; it’s just [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content