17 items from 2015
The top films in the Chinese box office chart remained unchanged for the fourth successive weekend. Locally-made films “Monster Hunt,” “Pancake Man” and animation “Monkey King: Hero is Back” all saw their weekly scores decline, but not enough for any of a string of newcomers to get near the top spot.
“Monster Hunt” added $39.4 million, a week-on-week drop of 43%, for a cumulative score of $330 million after 25 days, according to data from Entgroup. That makes it the biggest Chinese film of all time and the second biggest film ever released in Chinese cinemas (behind “Fast & Furious 7”). It is expected to remain on release until mid-September, giving it the possibility of challenging the all-comers record at $391 million.
Behind it “Pancake Man” (aka “Jianbin Man”) dropped 47%, but added $12.9 million for a total of $177 million after 24 days. It is now the fifth biggest Chinese film of all time.
“Monkey King” was down 35%, adding »
- Patrick Frater
A slew of new local film releases could do nothing to dislodge the record breaking trio of local movies at the top of the Chinese box office.
For the third week “Monster Hunt” topped the chart ahead of “Pancake Man” and “Monkey King: Hero is Born.” The summer blackout period, when Hollywood titles are prevented from releasing, was still in operation.
The live action-visual effects fantasy “Monster Hunt” earned $68.3 million a drop of 40% in its third week, for an 18 day total of $291 million. Dropping more severely, but still in second place, “Pancake Man” was down 65% with $24.3 million for the week. Its cumulative after 17 days stands at a huge $164 million.
Third place in its fourth week, animation “Monkey King: Hero Is Born” dropped 47% week on-week, but still grossed $17.5 million for a 24 day total of $126 million.
Top-ranking new entrant, “Lady of the Dynasty” a period romance, entered the chart in fourth spot with $14.8 million in four days. »
- Patrick Frater
Like passengers who overpaid for tickets to escape war-ravaged Shanghai on the Taiwan-bound liner Taiping in 1949, only to end up on a sinking ship, audiences get a pretty lousy deal with John Woo’s “The Crossing II,” an inert follow-up that doesn’t deliver enough visual or emotional payoff in its overdue yet short-lived shipwreck climax. Released eight months after the first film opened in December, the pic features no intriguing new turns and has nothing meaningful to say, indisputably proving that the production would have been better off trimmed and presented as one film. Considering how “The Crossing” tanked at the box office worldwide, it’s unrealistic to expect a huge B.O. turnaround here, though an older demographic may still give it a chance.
- Maggie Lee
Local sources confirmed that “Terminator: Genisys” will open in China on Aug. 23, and “Minions” on Sept. 13.
After 2D and 3D opening day records were set last week, by “Pancake Man” and “Monster Hunt” respectively, as well as a new cumulative high for a Chinese-made animation (“Monkey King: Hero Is Back”), the box office chart is likely to remain dominated by Chinese-made titles for the near term.
Chinese regulators are currently operating one of the country’s seasonal blackout periods in which new releases of major Hollywood titles are excluded.
While Cumberbatch is considered a big star in China, »
- Patrick Frater
Veteran filmmaker John Woo, best known as a master stylist specializing in ultra-violent gangster films and thrillers (Hard Boiled, The Killer) is about to release the second half of his two-part passion project, The Crossing. Billed in local media as the “Chinese Titanic,” the two-part period epic chronicles three couples whose lives are affected by the sinking of the steamer Taiping, which led to the deaths of over 1,500 passengers and crew during the Chinese Civil War.
Anyone who’s seen the first part will tell you that The Crossing has the DNA of several Best Picture Oscar winning films, only shoved into one massive blockbuster. There’s romance, tragedy, war and many reasons for viewers to keep a box of kleenex nearby.
The Crossing 2 opens on July 30th. Watch the trailer below.
Synopsis: During the Chinese Revolution in 1949, three couples flee from China to the island of Taiwan. Gen. »
You might be asking yourself, " 'The Crossing 2?' Was there a 'The Crossing 1?'" Yes, there was! Over Christmas, John Woo released the first part of his epic drama in China, and now part two is gearing up for release, promising action and tears. Zhang Ziyi, Huang Xiamoing and Song Hye-kyo star in the movie that chronicles three couples and their intertwining love stories set in 1940s Taiwan and Shanghai, centered around the 1949 sinking of Taiping, which caused the deaths of over 1500 people who were trying to flee following the Chinese Civil War. Evidently, Woo was inspired by some big screen dramas of yore. Read More: John Woo's WWII Epic 'Flying Tigers' To Arrive As Feature Film & Extended, 6 Hour Miniseries "I have always been a big fan of David Lean’s 'Dr. Zhivago,' and wanted to make an epic love story myself," the director told Deadline. »
- Kevin Jagernauth
"Somebody help me..." Second part? But we haven't even seen the first! Indeed, true. Eventually one day it will get a Us release. John Woo has been in China directing a massive two-part epic called The Crossing, billed as the "Chinese Titanic" - you will see why with this trailer. There are some shots right out of James Cameron's Titanic in this. The film is set during the Chinese Civil War in the 1940s, following three couples from different backgrounds whose are affected by the sinking of the steamer Taiping, which was traveling to Taiwan and led to the deaths of over 1,500 people. Zhang Ziyi, Takeshi Kaneshiro, Song Hye-kyo, and Huang Xiaoming star. It looks like Woo went all out, hopefully for the best. I'm curious to check this out. Here's the new official trailer for John Woo's The Crossing, found on Deadline's YouTube: The Crossing is a »
- Alex Billington
Veteran filmmaker John Woo is the helmer of such iconic movies as 1989’s The Killer, 1992’s Hard Boiled and later Face/Off (have John Travolta or Nicolas Cage ever been better?), Mission: Impossible 2 and the Red Cliff movies. He’s about to see the second part of his passion project, The Crossing, released in China later this month. Billed in local media as the “Chinese Titanic,” the two-part period epic is set during the Chinese Civil War and revolves around three… »
While we're still waiting to see John Woo's epic The Crossing here in the United States, the filmmaker is getting ready to plan his next project. ScreenDaily reports the director of Face/Off, Red Cliff and Hard Target has set his sights on Manhunt, a new adaptation of the Japanese novel Kimi Yo Funnu No Kawa O Watare by Juko Nishimura. The book was first adapted back in 1976 and just so happens to be the first foreign film released in China after the Cultural Revolution. But it sounds like the film might be a more prominent release overseas with Media Asia Films, based out of Hong Kong, behind the project. Read on! The story follows a prosecutor who is framed for robbery and rape and sets out on a one-man mission to clear his name. Sounds like your standard action thriller, which we know Woo can do well most of the time. »
- Ethan Anderton
John Woo has spent the last few years of his directorial career focusing more on epic histories such as the Red Cliff films and more intimate dramas like The Crossing. And while he hasn’t eschewed action elements all together, he’s had his attention elsewhere. But it appears he’s ready to get back into the thriller game with Manhunt.Based on Japanese author Juko Nishimura’s novel, Manhunt was originally adapted into a film in 1976, and became the first foreign film released in China following the Cultural Revolution. It tracks a prosecutor who is framed for robbery and rape and must head out on a mission to clear his name while taking down those who are trying to ruin it.Woo’s interest in the movie was sparked by his love for Japanese actor Ken Takakura, who took the lead and worked solidly until his death last year. »
The project, produced by Hong Kong’s Media Asia, sees a prosecutor framed for robbery, rape and multiple murders. He sets out on a strenuous solo mission to clear his name.
The book “Kimi yo Funnu no Kawa o Watare” (aka “Hot Pursuit”) by Juko Nishimura was previously adapted as a movie in Japan in 1976, directed by Junya Sato, and starring Ken Takakura (“Black Rain”) as the prosecutor. In 1978 it was the first foreign film released in China after the end of China’s ‘Cultural Revolution,’ and became a massive hit.
Media Asia confirmed that the film will start shooting in 2015, which makes it Woo’s next film after he completes two part wartime epic “The Crossing.” Woo was previously attached to an ambitious aerial project “Flying Tigers” focused on how Chinese and U. »
- Patrick Frater
South Korean drama “My Brilliant Life” is to get a wide release in China from Friday (March 13).
The picture, directed by E J-yong, is based on a novel by Kim Ae Ran about a couple with a son who suffers from an accelerated aging syndrome known as progeria.
The film is to be distributed by China Film Group, China’s leading state-owned film enterprise, with Shanghai Film Group as co-distributor. The film is expected to open on some 5,000 screens – a far wider release than it received in Korea in September, where it was handled by Cj Entertainment.
It stars Gang Dong-won and Song Hye-kyo (“Hwang Jin Yi”), a Korean actress who is building a significant place in the Chinese industry. She has starred in Wong Kar-wai’s “The Grandmaster” and John Woo’s two part epic “The Crossing.”
“My Brilliant Life” has also been released in other parts of Greater China, »
- Patrick Frater
With the world’s most prestigious film festival just around the corner, cineastes have been lasciviously salivating about what’s going to show up at Cannes, with wish lists appearing almost immediately after Berlin (a fest that had one of their most impressive line-ups ever) announced their awards. The remainder of the 2015 fest circuit looks to be a plentiful, diverse porridge, with many of the world’s most renowned auteurs’ sporting brand new titles. While many prognosticators will be sharing the same lists, more or less, hopes are incredibly high for a handful of sure bets, and a gaggle of hopefuls. The main competition always seems easier to postulate, though Thierry Fremaux always throws a few curves, (After the Battle in 2012, The Hunt in 2013 or last year’s Timbuktu, which won the Cesar for Best Picture recently, are a couple ready examples of under-the-radar titles).
Italy seems primed for saturation at the fest. »
- Nicholas Bell
Even before the Berlin festival is over, and the Oscars remain under wraps, the thoughts of many executives have turned to Cannes.
At this stage, the selectors of Cannes different sections have seen very little, so there is no such thing as a certainty.
Following some of the chatter and looking at which films might have the right credentials comes up with a strongly international selection for Thierry Fremaux and his team to choose from.
Fellow Italian, and previous Palme d’Or-winner Nanni Moretti, has “My Mother” (aka “Mia Madre”) while Paolo Sorrentino’s Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel-starrer “Youth” (aka “La Giovinezza,” aka “In the Future”) is also a strong competition contender.
Buzz is strong for “The Lobster,” the English-language »
- Patrick Frater
A run-of-the-mill student romance set in Beijing on the cusp of the millennium, the popular “Back in Time” reinforces how much the young demographic it targeted holds sway over China’s commercial market. Drawing a familiar arc of high schoolers falling hard in love, then drifting apart in college, mainland helmer Zhang Yibai knows how to reshuffle winning elements from other hits, but comes up short in terms of evoking anything vibrant, sensuous or heart-tugging. “Time” cruised past “The Crossing” to earn $90.7 million in 27 days, outperforming John Woo’s shipwreck epic almost threefold.
Ever since Vicky Zhao’s “So Young” used a two-part structure to paint a rosy picture of campus days in stark opposition to the cruel disappointments of adulthood, nearly every mainland youth romance, from Frant Gwo’s “The Old Classmate” to Snow Zou’s “But Always,” has glorified the innocence of puppy love and bemoaned adult life. »
- Maggie Lee
Hong Kong — China’s box office surged ahead by 36% to hit $4.82 billion (RMB29.6 billion) in 2014.
That consolidated China’s position as the world’s second largest theatrical territory, with a total that was 47% of the North American cumulative, which slipped 5% in 2014 to $10.3 billion.
In 2013, China’s box office hit $3.57 billion or 4.6 billion yuan.
While “Transformers: Age of Extinction” was the year’s top film, for the second year in a row local films bettered the competition from Hollywood. Local films accounted for a combined $2.64 billion in 2014 (RMB16.2 billion) and a 55% market share.
That was a considerable achievement for Chinese cinema, considering that the import quotas were expanded in 2012 to allow more Hollywood imports. But the score might have been higher still had some of the most anticipated Chinese films performed better in the key December month, when local films are favoured and Hollywood effectively locked out.
Both John Woo’s »
- Patrick Frater
While the first half of 2014 produced a number of genuinely impressive Asian films, including The Tale Of The Princess Kaguya, The Raid 2 and Black Coal, Thin Ice, the second half of the year felt a little lacklustre to me. A number of potentially high profile titles, like Sono Sion's Tokyo Tribe, Miike Takashi's Over Your Dead Body, Ning Hao's Breakup Buddies and John Woo's The Crossing failed to make a connection with me. I have also yet to see a few potential candidates, including Ann Hui's The Golden Era, Kim Han-min's Roaring Currents, Jiang Wen's Gone With The Bullets and Lou Ye's Blind Massage.However, that is not to say that the back end of 2014 was completely without merit. Below you'll find a...
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17 items from 2015
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