EXCLUSIVE: Lionsgate and China’s Infinity Pictures/CMC and Yue Hua Entertainment Culture Communications are finalizing plans to begin shooting Step Up 6, a Chinese-language sequel to the Step Up franchise. The feature dance series that’s been very lucrative for Lionsgate — more than $600M in worldwide box office — will be served with a twist in the PROC, marrying a martial arts aspect with some fancy footwork. Check out the full poster below.
Ron Yuan, who has a martial arts background as an action choreographer, stunt coordinator and second unit director, is helming with an all-Chinese cast. Shooting is eyed to start December 9 in Beijing and Los Angeles for release next year in Greater China.
Step Up 6 is produced by Dede Nickerson (the Kill Bill films, Shaolin Soccer) and Du Hua, an influencer who has extensive talent relationships in the Chinese film, music and dance communities. The script is penned by Li Wei and celebrates the underdog, bringing characters from different worlds together through dance.
“The Step Up franchise is celebrating its 10th anniversary stronger than ever,” Lionsgate Motion Picture Group Chairman Patrick Wachsberger and Motion Picture Group Co-President Erik Feig said. “We’re proud to partner with Infinity and Yue Hua Entertainment on the next exciting chapter of a dance phenomenon that continues to grow in popularity around the world.”
Nickerson, CEO of Infinity Pictures, added “We are excited to be a partner in this celebrated franchise and believe Step Up 6 will wow the Chinese audience.”
Earlier incarnations, Step Up 3D, Step Up Revolution and Step Up All In were very popular in Asia, particularly Taiwan and Korea, and Chinese audiences have taken to the franchise largely online with most of the films released prior to the explosion in that market.
The Step Up franchise began in 2006 with the modestly budgeted first installment. Subsequent pics continued to grow in popularity, and Step Up 3D (2010) was the first in the series to break through with Asian audiences, grossing more than $20M in the region. Two years later, Step Up Revolution grossed nearly $30M in Asia, including over $7M in Taiwan. Revolution and All In (2014) were released via Lionsgate’s Summit Entertainment label.
Lionsgate has also extended the Step Up franchise onto new platforms, partnering with YouTube Red for a dramatic television series and developing a live stage event as one of the centerpieces of the Motiongate theme park opening next year in partnership with Dubai Parks & Resorts.
The move to produce a made-for-the-Middle Kingdom Step Up is part of Lionsgate’s worldwide local-language strategy. The company recently launched Globalgate in consortium with distribution partners including Gaumont, Nordisk, Kadokawa, Lotte and Televisa/Videocine to source IP from around the world which can be remade in local versions.
Lionsgate also is partnering in the production and distribution of several local-language versions of the Pantelion Films hit Instructions Not Included, and it’s following up the successful Hindi-language remake of the Lionsgate film Warrior with an Indian spin on Summit’s action comedy Red.