CULVER CITY & BEIJING -- Columbia Pictures announced principal photography has commenced on Jiang Wen's 3D feature film "Gone With The Bullets," through his production company with Ma Ke, Buyilehu. This is the highly anticipated second film in the Bullets Trilogy that began with the 2010 hit feature "Let The Bullets Fly" ("Rang zidan fei"), which Jiang directed. The first feature was one of the highest grossing domestic Chinese releases in recent years, grossing over US$140 million at the worldwide box office, including RMB 720m in China. "Gone with the Bullets" will be distributed in China by Buyilehu, and internationally by Sony Pictures Releasing International (SPRI).
"Gone with the Bullets" started production on October 2, 2013 on location in Beijing at the China Film Group studio in Huairou, and will film in Shanghai, Fujian and Inner Mongolia as well. Jiang will star in the film opposite Ge You ("Personal Tailor," "Sacrifice"), Zhou Yun ("Let The Bullets Fly," "Bodyguard and Assassins"), Shu Qi ("China Zodiac," "Love"), and Wen Zhang ("Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons"). Keith Young is the choreographer, and Pixomondo ("Hugo") is handling the visual effects.
"Gone with the Bullets," set in 1920s Shanghai, is based on a true story. Ma Zouri (Jiang Wen) and Xiang Feitian (Ge You) establish a notorious beauty pageant called the "Flowers Competition." All of the city's elite attend this gala event, but when Wanyan Ying unexpectedly wins, it sets into motion a series of tragic events that change their destinies.
Internationally acclaimed director Jiang Wen's previous feature "Devils on the Doorstep" ("Guizi lai le") was honored with the Grand Prize at the 2000 Cannes International Film Festival and was also nominated for the Palme D'Or. Jiang is also familiar to international audiences for his acting role in Zhang Yimou's 1987 feature "Red Sorghum." Jiang's previous directorial credits include a segment in "New York, I Love You," as well as the films "The Sun Also Rises" ("Tai yang zhao chang sheng qi") and "In The Heat Of The Sun" ("Yangguang Canlan de Rizi").
Commenting on the local language production, Doug Belgrad, President of Columbia Pictures said, "We're thrilled to be partnering with Jiang Wen on this film. As both an actor and a filmmaker, Jiang is well respected in China and around the world, and we think audiences will respond to ‘Gone with the Bullets' just as strongly as they did to ‘Let the Bullets Fly.'"
The film is expected to be released in December 2014.
It only took three days for Thor: The Dark World to surpass the lifetime gross of the original. The film took a $19.6 million bow in China to dethrone Russia's Stalingrad atop the box office. IMAX represented $3 million worth of business for the superhero sequel. The big debut presented a threat to the release of Escape Plan in the market, but the action vehicle was able to receive a Monday release date and earn $13 million from Monday-Thursday before Marvel's latest hit Chinese theaters. Escape Plan is currently up to $22.8 million in China, which is very close to the $23.2 million haul in North America.
Check back tomorrow for a full report on the top ten movies in China.
Canada and Hollywood face-off for Chinese animated market. [Wall Street Journal]
MPAA bridges ties with China through week-long event. [LA Times]
Domestic films thrive in China. [China Daily]
Chinese box office expected to pass $3.6B this year. [The Wrap]
Xue Xiaolu, director of Finding Mr. Right, enjoying success from young audiences. [Variety]
Stalingrad posted one of the best weekends of all time for a non-American foreign film in China. The Russian submission to the Academy Awards has already grossed $47.8 million its home country, becoming the most successful domestic film of all time in the Russian box office. Stalingrad expanded to China over the weekend and topped the box office with an $8.28 million bow. The WWII historical epic dethroned The Wolverine’s consecutive weeks atop the box office, with the superhero spin-off sequel settling for a $6.59 million second place finish. The Wolverine has grossed a total of $39.71 million in China.
Hotel Transylvania had a third place debut with a $5.71 million bow. Special ID moved down to fourth place in its third frame with a $3.48 million take that brings its domestic total to $24.68 million. The Arnold Schwarzenegger vehicle The Last Stand was resilient in its second frame with a $2.99 million hold that brings its Chinese cume to $7.79 million. The Last Stand might see its business drop in the following frame after Escape Plan opened in theaters on Monday. Now You See Me has also been able to show legs nearly a month into its Chinese run. The magic heist film has already grossed a total $22.95 million after 25 days in China.
Top Ten Films in China.
Data courtesy of Entgroup.