Jiang Wen’s upcoming Gone With The Bullets is on its way to blockbuster status in China — a month before its release. At a press conference this week in Beijing, China.org reports it was announced that the film has already pre-sold 120M yuan ($19.6M) worth of tickets. IMAX pre-sales have also broken the midnight premiere record of 4M yuan ($653K) set by Michael Bay’s Transformers: Age Of Extinction. It’s been speculated that this film, a sequel to 2010’s Let The Bullets Fly, which made 720M yuan ($117.5M) in China and $140M worldwide, could be the one to beat Age Of Extinction’s all-time China box office record set earlier this year with a gross of $301M. But producer Ma Ke noted at the conference, “What has made us happier is we spent four years making a serious, high-quality movie. The responsibility for a domestic film shall always lie on quality at first, then it is about box office income.”
Set in 1920s Shanghai, the 3D Gone With The Bullets (see trailer below) 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 the gala event, but when Wanyan Ying (Shu Qi) unexpectedly wins, it sets into motion a series of tragic events that change their destinies. Sony Pictures Releasing International has rights to the film outside China where it bows on December 18.
While it may not accumulate $300M within the 2014 calendar year, Bullets will certainly contribute to the local market share which is gunning to be over 50% — in the first nine months of the year homegrown pics had 51.4%. That was before Guardians Of The Galaxy, The Maze Runner, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Penguins Of Madagascar and Interstellar hit the market. Those pics are all either at the end of their runs, or have a couple of weeks to go, and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part I has been pushed into 2015, leaving a clear path for local titles. On December 2, John Woo’s anticipated The Crossing docks at theaters, followed by Gone With The Bullets two weeks later, and Tsui Hark’s 3D The Taking of Tiger Mountain lands on Christmas Eve. Here’s the Bullets trailer for a refresher: