Hollywood Looks to The Great Wall

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Legendary Pictures, the production company behind blockbuster movies like “300” and “Clash of the Titans”, has formed a new Asian venture, Legendary East, which will include the company’s first production in China focusing on the country’s most recognizable historical monument: The Great Wall.

The film, which will be directed by Edward Zwick, known for “The Last Samurai,” “Love and Other Drugs” and “Blood Diamonds,” will be a fictional story set at the time of the Great Wall’s construction. So far there have been no announcements made about the cast or production schedule.

Legendary East’s chief executive Kelvin Wu has said that the company “expects to draw on its experience in turning classical history and mythology into cinematic hits. What we’re going to do are big-budget films and create some sort of imaginary world in a film for a fan-boy community.”

Legendary East is based in Hong Kong and was created in June as a collaboration between Legendary Pictures and Huayi Brothers, a Chinese film producer and distributor. The company’s mission to break through the notoriously closed Chinese film market. Currently, Beijing only allows 20 foreign films to be shown in Chinese theaters each year and tightly controls film production in the country. Despite these regulations, China is an increasingly attractive market for movie producers because box-office receipts jumped 64% in 2010 to $1.5 bullion from the previous year. The country’s Film Bureau and experts predict receipts to reach $2 billion this year.

Wu added, “Hollywood people are business men and they want their product to be seen by everybody in the world. The way we propose to do that is very different from the conventional idea of pressing the government to open up film quotas. We don’t think this is a good way to do business in China. We think we need to be local, find partners and deliver a good product.”

Source and Photo: Wall Street Journal

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