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Shanghai: Er Dong Pictures Adds to Web of Hollywood and Chinese Deals

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Yang Wei Chen/Shutterstock

Chinese production and talent company Er Dong Pictures has shed some light on its latest film investment slate and growing web of relationships in Asia and Hollywood.

The company, which is in the process of establishing a joint venture with Hollywood talent firm The Gersh Agency, and has a 12-film co-funding deal with Starlight Culture Entertainment, announced its involvement in new projects with Roland Emmerich, Jon M. Chu and Sylvester Stallone.

Projects include “Those About to Die,” a film project with Harald Kloser set as producer. Emmerich and Gianni Nunnari (“The Departed”) are also involved, though their roles were not specified.

“Sylvester Stallone will be cooperating with Er Dong Pictures and Starlight on three projects,” Er Dong said. The company appears to be boarding projects being hatched by Stallone’s Balboa Pictures, including the previously announced English-language remake of recent Korean action film “The Gangster, The Cop, The Devil,” which had its premiere in the midnight screening section at Cannes this year.

“Stallone will remake ‘The Gangster, The Cop, The Devil.’ Like the original movie, the American version will star Ma Dong-Seok, also known as Don Lee. This will be produced by Starlight Culture Entertainment and Er Dong Pictures, who will also jointly develop ‘Walled City’ and ‘Jiadong,’ while Han Jianv, the screenwriter of Chinese hit ‘Dying to Survive,’ will participate in the creation of ‘Jiadong,’” Er Dong said.

Er Dong also said that it has begun working with War Party Films, the recently established company that teams director Joe Carnaghan (“Boss Level”) and actor Frank Grillo. Grillo is a known quantity in China through his starring role in “Wolf Warrior II.”

Chu, director of “Crazy Rich Asians,” sent a video message to an Er Dong event held Sunday on the margins of the Shanghai International Film Festival, saying that he would be cooperating with the Chinese company and with Starlight.

On the local front, Er Dong announced three Chinese projects:  “Stealing Time,” to be directed by Michael Jia from a Han script; “Eight and a Half Seconds,” to be directed by Cui Zhijia; and “Good Morning Princess,” to be directed by Lv Kejing. Er Dong was previously an investor in Chinese film “Song of Youth” and recent Hong Kong-made “P Storm.”

The promo event in Shanghai also boasted the presence of filmmakers Emmerich, Nunnari, Han and Carnaghan. Gersh-repped talent Tony Jaa and Iko Uwais were on hand to unveil clips of their latest films. Gersh executives in attendance included Robert Gersh, Brett Norensberg, William Gersh and Mike Staudt.

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Courtesy of Er Dong Pictures

The four-year-old Er Dong first gave notice of its vaulting ambitions at the Hong Kong FilMart market in March. There it touted its budding relationships with Gersh, former Lionsgate executive Patrick Wachsberger and former head of Columbia/TriStar Chris Lee, and announced the outlines of the Starlight pact. Er Dong said it was involved in “Gold Mountain,” a period drama by Alan Tyler, and “Autoerotic” by Sam Raimi.

Er Dong is currently building multiplexes — five are set to open this year — and 10 VR cinemas across China. It has also announced its ambitions for a stock market IPO, though has not specified in which jurisdiction or when this would be.

Starlight, which has outposts in mainland China and Los Angeles, is already listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. It shed its Macau casino junkets business and changed its name from Jimei Entertainment in 2017. Starlight was an investor in “Crazy Rich Asians” and the upcoming Emmerich-directed “Midway.”