China's film giant reveals attractive future projects

By Zhang Rui
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, September 17, 2020
Adjust font size:

China's entertainment giant Huayi Brothers Media unveiled a new list of future releases on Wednesday to demonstrate its confidence in the country's film industry. 

A photo shows the headquarters of Huayi Brothers Media in Beijing. [Photo/VCG]

The list includes 18 film projects of various genres to be released between the rest of 2020 and 2021 by 19 renowned domestic and international directors, such as Stephen Chow, Feng Xiaogang, Jia Zhangke, Lu Chuan, Cao Baoping, Rob Minkoff and Roland Emmerich. 

A company statement said there were great changes facing the Chinese film industry and market and film studios are not only competing with other domestic studios, but also competing with video games, short video apps, variety shows and live streaming shows. 

"Good contents that touch people's heart and inspire, comfort, bring healing to people will draw the audience back to big screen to see films deserving to be watched in a theater environment," it said.

On the list, Stephen Chow's "The Mermaid 2" is a long-anticipated sequel of his comedy sci-fi blockbuster "The Mermaid", which earned 3.4 billion yuan in 2016 and became the first Chinese film to reach such a stunning box office milestone. The sequel will "go beyond the limits of imagination", Huayi Brothers claimed. 

Another two fantasy blockbusters on Huayi's list are "The Yinyang Master" by Li Weiran, the first live-action film adaptation of a phenomenal mobile game "Onmyoji," and action-adventure sci-fi film "Bureau 749" by Lu Chuan.

The list also features Feng Xiaogang's new film "Chun Tian Yi Sui." As a longtime collaborator, partner and backbone director of Huayi Brothers, Feng will present his 16th film born from their collaboration. Another award-winning art-house auteur Jia Zhangke will release his new documentary film "Swimming Out Till the Sea Turns Blue," and Huayi Brothers have not forgotten to salute China's revolutionary heroes with "Railway Guerrilla 1939."

The film studio, headed by CEO Wang Zhonglei, is also working with and investing in foreign filmmakers and their new projects. Roland Emmerich's "Moonfall" will show how humans survive when the moon collides with the Earth, while "Cherry" by Anthony and Joe Russo will likely reopen the wounds of a veteran who returns home from the Iraq War with PTSD and immediately spirals into addiction. 

Jo Sung-hee's space opera film "Space Sweepers" tells the story of the crew on board the spaceship Victory trying to escape the destruction of the Earth, which is a high-profile South Korean sci-fi film. Also coming up is a Rob Minkoff-produced animated feature "Blazing Samurai."

However, it is not known how big the share Huayi Brothers Media actually own in each film on the list, as films these days tend to be backed by multiple investors and involve groups of producers joining in to create a much bigger cake to be shared. Huayi said it hoped the list would help boost the confidence of the Chinese film industry and promote cooperation and solidarity within the industry. 

The list also gives hope to the embattled company itself, as it has faced a downward business spiral for some years into a dire situation due to several box office flops, less than successful entertainment investments, loss of talents and the COVID-19 pandemic. 

It released no decent blockbusters in the entire year of 2019 and suffered a stunning loss of almost four billion yuan on the stock market. In the first half in 2020, it continued to generate a net loss of 275 million yuan, and with total debt reaching 5.65 billion yuan, according to its H1 report published recently.

The studio's latest war epic "The Eight Hundred" saved Huayi Brothers from falling into abyss, having grossed over 2.7 billion yuan as of Tuesday. 

However, this didn't immediately solve Huayi's financial problems. On Sept. 10, the company announced it would work with China Merchants Bank, and will apply for a credit line of 300 million yuan for the financing of film and television drama projects, with pledged collateral of the company's future income and its own properties.

During the 10th Beijing International Film Festival held in late August, CEO Wang Zhonglei was optimistic about the future. He revealed that, when Chinese cinemas reopened in July, he went to the Chinese film authorities to offer Huayi's films to revive the market. "The Eight Hundred" is one of the offerings. Starting from the second half of the year, the company will release films during every important film season, and also has plans to shoot three or four new movies to contribute to market revival.

Follow on Twitter and Facebook to join the conversation.
ChinaNews App Download
Print E-mail Bookmark and Share

Go to Forum >>0 Comment(s)

No comments.

Add your comments...

  • User Name Required
  • Your Comment
  • Enter the words you see:   
    Racist, abusive and off-topic comments may be removed by the moderator.
Send your storiesGet more from