Tycoon's wife roars at Zhang Yimou's ex-producer

By Zhang Rui
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China.org.cn, July 16, 2015
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Tiffany Chen, wife of Hong Kong film industry tycoon Charles Heung, made aggressive verbal attacks against Zhang Weiping, the former producer for many Zhang Yimou's classics on Wednesday.

Zhang Weiping (L) and Zhang Yimou. [File photo] 

"I heard there were many bad things that happened," Chen wrote on her microblog on Wednesday night, "He (Zhang Weiping) didn't pay director (Zhang Yimou) for many film projects. And he also told investors the films didn't make money in such a way the director felt ashamed when facing investors. "

Tiffany Chen said Zhang Yimou remained silent without fighting. "Some friends change their nature when they see money. If you make a wrong friend, you must split with him immediately, don't be tolerant. Some people will not regret and correct themselves, and Chinese laws will protect you."

The tycoon's wife's blog posts were echoed by Zhang Yimou's wife Chen Ting. Chen Ting retweeted Tiffany Chen's post and added, "It is really very simple. Relevant government departments need to check the account book of the New Pictures Film Co. Ltd, everything will be clear. "

China's most famous director Zhang Yimou and his then producer Zhang Weiping collaborated for 16 years and were nicknamed "The Golden Partners." Their 2002 film "Hero" was the first Chinese-language film to earn more than 100 million yuan (US$16.25 million). After that, they made such box-office blockbusters as "House of Flying Daggers," "Curse of the Golden Flower," and "The Flowers of War." Zhang Weiping's film production company the New Pictures, founded in 1997, mainly invested in the production of Zhang Yimou's films.

Zhang Yimou is suing his former business partner Zhang Weiping to recover 15 million yuan (US$2.41 million). The case started its trial procedure in a Beijing court on July 7, and relates back to 2009 film "A Simple Noodle Story." Zhang Yimou claimed that Zhang Weiping's New Picture company agreed to evenly share revenues from the film after deduction of promotion costs but he never got paid.

Zhang Weiping's attorneys said to reporters after the court that they have already paid Zhang Yimou 12.53 million yuan (US$2.01 million) for "A Simple Noodle Story" project. But Zhang Yimou's lawyers said the 12.53 million yuan is for other projects, the 15 million yuan payment for "A Simple Noodle Story" project was never made.

The court has not made verdict on this case yet.

Zhang Yimou's wife later also posted on her microblog, "The New Pictures couple (Zhang Weiping and his wife) have said the 12.53 million yuan is for 'A Simple Noodle Story' one time, and then say the money is for 5 film projects, and then again say the money is for me. I wonder how the judges will think of their remarks. They never found the accounting book but I believe some other government departments should have copies. I strongly hope the departments will examine this case thoroughly. "

The lawsuit adds more drama to the invisible longtime war between the two Zhangs who parted ways in 2012. A book entitled "Fate: Lonely Zhang Yimou" was published in mid-March, 2015. The author Zhou Xiaofeng is Zhang Yimou's literary advisor and associate screenwriter. In her book, Zhou listed a great number of bad things Zhang Weiping had done to Zhang Yimou, including creating a rift between Zhang Yimou and his former lover actress Gong Li as well as leaking the secret of Zhang Yimou's three unregistered children, which made Zhang Yimou forced to pay about 7.48 million yuan (US$1.2 million) in penalties for fathering three children in violation of China's family planning policy in early 2014.

Even now with all the controversies and an ongoing lawsuit, Zhang Yimou is focused on directing a fantasy epic "The Great Wall," while Zhang Weiping said he is also prepared for other film projects.

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