The big-canvas project is scheduled to go into production this spring and casting is underway. The Huayi deal was negotiated by AGC International, the international sales and distribution arm of Stuart Ford’s AGC Studios, and CAA Media Finance.
In Moonfall, a mysterious force knocks the moon from its orbit around Earth and sends it on a collision course with life as we know it. With weeks before impact, a ragtag team launches a last-ditch mission into space to land on the lunar surface and save the planet from annihilation. The script comes from Emmerich, his 2012 co-writer Harald Kloser and Spenser Cohen.
Emmerich is producing under his Centropolis banner, with Kloser producing through his company, Street Entertainment. Huayi Brothers co-founders Dennis Wang and James Wang will executive produce, along with Ute Emmerich, Stuart Ford, J.P. Pettinato, Carsten Lorenz and Marco Shepherd. CAA reps the filmmakers.
“Roland Emmerich is a cinematic master, and his films — 2012, The Day After Tomorrow and Independence Day — are so deeply loved by Chinese audiences that Huayi Brothers is proud to partner with his latest science fiction saga, Moonfall, in both its production and distribution,” James Wang said.
He continued: “We believe that the most effective way to facilitate worldwide cultural exchange is in collaboration with top artists, and this project marks a milestone for us as a solid content creator in the international film business. Moonfall reinforces Huayi’s strategy of integrating global resources and exploring innovative ways to promote Chinese culture internationally.”
For Huayi Brothers, Josh Hu oversaw the Moonfall deal with Stephen Saltzman of law firm Paul Hastings; JP Pettinato, Marco Shepherd and attorney Richard Thompson of Goodman Schenkman & Brecheen, LLP negotiated on behalf of Centropolis Entertainment; and AGC’s President of Worldwide Distribution Michael Rothstein and Vice President of Business and Legal Affairs Anant Tamirisa negotiated the deal for AGC International.
Emmerich and his producing partners will adopt a similar funding approach on the movie to that of Midway. The filmmaker and Centropolis are independently producing and financing, overseeing all aspects of production, financing, and delivery, and collaborating with Huayi Brothers, Lionsgate, AGC Studios, and the film’s global distributors for marketing and distribution. Huayi Brothers and its partners, including its Hong Kong affiliate Huayi Tencent Entertainment, are to provide equity funding to production. Centropolis raised equity funding together with CAA Media Finance and AGC.
The movie sold out at Cannes last year and was one of the market’s hottest titles. Key distribution partners include Lionsgate in North America, Entertainment Film Distributors in the UK, Leonine in Germany and Switzerland, Metropolitan in France, Sun in Latin America and Spain, IIF in Italy, Roadshow in Australia, Kino Film in Japan, Noori Pictures in South Korea, Central Partnership in Russia, and DFW in Benelux.
In 2015, Huayi set up a co-financing and distribution slate deal with STX. In August 2016, the company established a joint venture with the Russo Brothers.