Huang Wei, the VP of China’s Bona Film Group who managed its cinema division, has died by suicide, jumping from the 18th-floor offices of the company’s Beijing headquarters today, according to multiple Chinese reports. He was 52.
In a brief statement posted to social media late Wednesday, Bona wrote that he had died on June 10, saying: “Our entire company is in deep mourning.” It added no further details.
Bona’s headquarters are located in central Beijing next to the U-Town Mall in Chaoyang district. Bona Film Group founder and chairman Yu Dong will lead the funeral committee for his colleague’s passing, the company has said.
Huang came to Bona in 2009 from rival cinema chain China Film Stellar, where he had previously been chairman and general manager, among other roles.
Many in the film industry were shaken by the sudden loss, posting candle emojis or messages of grief.
Director Lu Chuan (“Kekexili: Mountain Patrol”) wrote on social media, “My heart hurts for Huang Wei and for the industry.” Arthouse helmer Jia Zhangke called his passing “the sorrow of the industry.”
Bona is coming off a strong 2019, having been involved in three out of China’s top 10 highest grossing films last year: patriotic titles “My People, My Country” ($445 million), “The Captain” ($414 million), and “The Bravest” ($243 million). It also co-financed high-profile Hollywood projects such as Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” which was never released in China, and Roland Emmerich’s “Midway.”
Huang’s death comes at a time when China’s film industry is struggling to get back on its feet in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Although production is back underway, cinemas have yet to re-open, with many going bankrupt as they become unable to withstand the costs of prolonged closures.