In yet another hook-up between Paramount Pictures and Chinese money and marketing muscle, Huahua Media and Shanghai Film Group have made a worldwide investment in Vin Diesel-starrer xXx: Return Of Xander Cage. The news comes on the heels of the film’s early international previews in India, and on the eve of its near-day-and-date global release this week.
Huahua and SFG are making the undisclosed investment in the title from Paramount and Revolution Studios via a joint venture between the two. In addition to its investment, the Huahua/SFG venture will assist as China marketing partners for the action-packed pic. The partners did a similar deal on Jack Reacher: Never Go Back last year.
Anticipation is high for the Return Of Xander Cage, whose trailer hit 100M views in just two days in November. It boasts an international cast that includes Samuel L Jackson, Rogue One’s Donnie Yen along with Ruby Rose, Kris Wu, Nina Dobrev, Tony Jaa and Deepika Padukone. She recently traveled home to India with Diesel ahead of last weekend’s early launch there which made $4.2M in paid previews over two-and-a-half days, to rank No. 1 and set the biggest-ever January opening weekend for a Hollywood title.
The DJ Caruso-helmed pic sees Diesel as government operative Xander Cage who comes out of self-imposed exile for a new assignment to recover a powerful weapon known as “Pandora’s Box.” He then finds himself caught up in a deadly conspiracy of corruption among world governments after recruiting a new group of cohorts.
Rollout in earnest begins tomorrow in France with most of the world, including North America, opening this weekend. By Friday, it will be playing in 53 offshore markets for 54% of the international footprint. China bows on February 10, after the Lunar New Year period has closed.
Beijing-based Huahua and Paramount have previously worked together on such titles as Star Trek Beyond, and Transformers: Age Of Extinction. In December, it came aboard this year’s Transformers: The Last Knight.
Says Megan Colligan, Paramount Pictures’ President Worldwide Distribution and Marketing, “We are pleased to collaborate once again with Huahua Media and the Shanghai Film Group. XXX: Return Of Xander Cage is a film that delivers incredible action and great entertainment and we anticipate a strong showing for the film in China, where our stars Vin Diesel, Donnie Yen, Kris Wu and Nina Dobrev have such dedicated fan bases.”
Huahua CEO Kefei Wang says the partners are “poised to launch a multi-market campaign to drive a lucrative opening for the popular film series in China.”
Ren Zhonglun, President of Shanghai Film Group — which oversees more than 2,000 cinema screens in the Middle Kingdom — says, “America is a developed market and the Chinese market is still developing. If there’s a company or an alliance of companies that can connect the two, such as Paramount Pictures and Huahua Media, it creates a significant collaboration that benefits both markets. This is why we’ve been communicating with American companies and keeping a close relationship with the executives.”