Flagship Entertainment, the Middle Kingdom joint venture formed last September by Warner Bros, China Media Capital and TVB, has set a roster of 12 projects that make up its inaugural film slate. The outfit’s mandate is to develop and produce Chinese-language films, including global tentpoles, for worldwide distribution. However, among the bigger projects is MEG, about a massive pre-historic shark that resurfaces to wreak havoc along the China coast, which I’ve confirmed will be in English and have many Chinese elements. Colin Wilson is slated to produce and Deadline recently reported that Jon Turtletaub is circling to direct.
Also on the docket are remakes of Sandra Bullock-starrer Miss Congeniality and Adam Sandler/Drew Barrymore family pic Blended. The latter was never released in China and failed to score domestically, but proved a solid performer in offshore family markets, notably Brazil and Mexico. The original Miss Congeniality grossed over $210M worldwide, but largely pre-dated the PROC box office boom.
Further among projects are pics with key Chinese and Hong Kong talent including Andy Lau, Shaofeng Feng, Peter Chan and Stephen Fung. Notably, Chan (American Dreams In China) will produce drama Beautiful Coma with Brett Ratner. The films were announced at an event in Hong Kong attended by CMC Chairman Ruigang Li, WB Chairman and CEO Kevin Tsujihara, and TVB Chairman Charles Chan.
Warner’s ramped up ambitions in the Middle Kingdom come as box office there is due to supplant North America’s as early as next year. The first film from Flagship, which is being overseen locally by veteran WB international exec Richard Fox, is due in 2016.
“With Flagship, we plan to make great movies that showcase China’s fabled history, stories, values and lifestyles,” said Tsujihara. “But more than just making movies, we want Flagship to be a true cultural exchange between our companies and our countries. China is rich with talented storytellers—from writers and directors, to actors and craftsman—and we look forward to working with them in the years to come.”
Here’s a rundown of the projects:
– MEG (Action): Global tentpole release based on the book MEG: A Novel Of Deep Terror about a massive pre-historic deep sea predator that resurfaces to wreak havoc at surface level. Colin Wilson to produce.
– Murder Of The Husband (Drama): Peter Chan to direct this drama where one woman’s suffering gave rise to the revolution of women’s social rights in China.
– In Love With The Thieves (Action comedy): Jing Wong directs this high-profile action comedy starring Andy Lau, Huang Xiaoming and Shen Teng.
– The Adventurers (Action romance): Stephen Fung directs the story of an overseas treasure hunt with a cast led by Shaofeng Feng.
– When Larry Meets Mary (Romantic comedy): Wen Zhang directs Song Jia and Bao Beier in a story about the time it takes to find true love.
– Miss Congeniality (Action comedy): A remake of the 2000 hit FBI/beauty pageant comedy that starred Sandra Bullock.
– Blended (Comedy): A remake of the 2014 family comedy that starred Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler as a mismatched couple stuck together on a family vacation with their kids.
– Beautiful Coma (Romance): Peter Chan and Brett Ratner are set to produce the film that sees a couple meet in an alternate reality when each falls into a coma.
– Chinese Wall Street (Drama): A look at the dreams and sacrifices of a generation of China’s pioneers.
– Agent Baiyun (Comedy): An unlikely crime-fighting team: A gossiping middle-aged woman and an international secret agent.
– Crater (Action disaster): Special effects-laden tentpole release.
– Wish Dragon (Animation): An animated tale of discovering the greatest wish of all.