Sunac Culture has acquired Chinese distribution rights to “Three Thousand Years of Longing,” the upcoming project by Australia’s “Mad Max: Fury Road” director George Miller. It stars Idris Elba and Tilda Swinton.
MGM recently picked up the North American rights. Both the North American and Chinese deals were brokered by CAA Media Finance.
Rights in the rest of the world were handled by FilmNation, which largely sold out when the project was introduced at the American Film Market in November 2018.
The film is expected to shoot in Australia, London, U.K. and Istanbul, Turkey, though dates have not yet been pinned down. It previously had an announced start date of March, but that was blown off course by the coronavirus pandemic.
Few details of the story have yet emerged, with Miller even claiming to be unsure what genre it fits. He has called it a “riddle” and a “two-hander” with Elba and Swinton as the central characters, and says he aims to craft something “uniquely familiar.”
Sunac Culture is an emerging mini studio, headed by 30-year old president Kevin Zheyi Sun. Backed by Sunac China Holdings, China’s fourth largest property developer, the offshoot has potentially very deep pockets.
Sun has stated that he aims to make Sunac Culture the first company in China to achieve a proper film-to-offline business model in the vein of Universal or Disney. Among his first moves was the purchase of the massive Qingdao movie studio complex that Dalian Wanda was forced to divest. In December last year, Sunac Culture followed that with another CAA Media Finance-brokered deal to buy BaseFX, a digital effects pioneer in China.
Sunac’s activities on the content side have until now been largely unknown. In summer last year, Sun told Variety that an animated film was in the pipeline with “Lion King” director Rob Minkoff in talks to direct. The rights purchase of “Three Thousand Years of Longing,” is the company’s first distribution rights pickup to have emerged to date.