Mahua FunAge celebrates 20 years with new project

By Zhang Rui
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, July 13, 2023
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China's most popular comedy brand, Mahua FunAge, celebrated its 20th anniversary on July 8, and its film division is soon set to release the long-awaited fantasy comedy film "Wonder Family."

Mahua FunAge actors pose for a photo at a press conference to mark the comedy company's 20th anniversary and promote their new film, "Wonder Family," in Beijing, July 8, 2023. [Photo/]

Mahua FunAge, founded in 2003, is a popular comedy troupe enterprise known for producing comedy stage shows. Since venturing into the film industry and creating the unexpected hit comedy "Goodbye Mr. Loser" in 2015, Mahua FunAge has reached new levels of popularity in China through its film division, FunAge Pictures. Many of their subsequent films have become blockbuster hits, including their latest release, "Moon Man," which grossed 3.1 billion yuan ($429 million) in 2022. The combined box office revenue of all the films they have created or co-produced has surpassed 22 billion yuan. Additionally, several actors and directors associated with Mahua FunAge, particularly Shen Teng and Ma Li, have achieved unprecedented fame and adoration.

Shen, now a seasoned veteran of the comedy troupe enterprise and one of China's most beloved comedians, appeared at the event alongside several fellow comedians, such as Ai Lun and Chang Yuan. They united on stage to share their hilarious and occasionally heartfelt memories. The troupe's versatile cast and crew, including esteemed directors and actors, consider themselves a close-knit family, and readily assist each other in various projects, even taking on different roles or making cameo appearances. For instance, Shen Teng has taken on both lead and supporting roles in numerous projects and has also directed some comedy stage dramas.

The upcoming project, "Wonder Family," is scheduled for theatrical release on July 21. The project commenced in early 2018 and was initially due to be released in January 2022, in time for the Spring Festival. However, it was postponed due to post-production delays.

The film is directed by Song Yang, who was recruited by the troupe company 18 years ago based on a recommendation from Shen Teng. Song fondly recalled during the press event on Saturday his deep admiration for Mahua FunAge and shared that he had expressed to Shen at that time that he would be willing to do even menial tasks like sweeping floors just to join the company. Shen was deeply moved by his sincerity. Subsequently, Song's talent was recognized and he went on to star in blockbuster films such as "Goodbye Mr. Loser" and "Hello, Mrs. Money." He also directed "Never Say Die" for FunAge Pictures, which achieved remarkable box office success, grossing 2.21 billion yuan.

A photo of the mischievous "Wonder Family" actors and crew. [Photo courtesy of FunAge Pictures]

"Wonder Family" follows Zheng Qian, a financial app developer from a family imbued with superpowers. However, there's a catch – their powers only work when Zheng is in close proximity. The corrupt mayor Chickikov, portrayed by Shen Teng with the look resembling a foreigner, sets his sights on Zheng and his app, forcing him to unite with his supercharged, chaotic, and eccentric family to safeguard themselves and their city.

Shen said it was the first time he had played a villain in a film, making for a new experience for him and the audience. He revealed that the arduous application of foreign face make-up and prosthetics took five to six hours each day during filming.

Also leading the cast are Ai Lun, Tao Hui, Zhang Qi, Han Yanbo, and Polina. The press event also revealed that other popular comedians Ma Li, Chang Yuan, and Wei Xiang will have cameo roles in the film. Shen Teng noted that the film "Wonder Family" represents the camaraderie and support among the Mahua FunAge actors over the years. He hopes that this summer they can continue to bring joy to the audience.

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