Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group is prepping a follow-up to Stephen Chow's Kung Fu Hustle as Sony Pictures celebrates seven years of concentrated activity in international production in the Far East and a huge international rollout of Kung Fu Hustle.
Columbia Pictures Film Production Asia managing director Barbara Robinson said Chow and his writing team from Kung Fu Hustle, including Tsang Kan Cheong, have been writing a draft in the evenings while on the road for the 30-country Sony Pictures Releasing International rollout of the film. Chow has conducted more than 300 one-on-one interviews around the U.S. and Europe.
He works well within our system, Robinson said. He knows we love this film; he's seen the way we've gotten behind him, and we have great distribution clout. SPRI plans to begin shooting Chow's follow-up to Kung Fu Hustle before the end of the year, said the head of Sony's foreign-language operations, Columbia TriStar vice chairman Gareth Wigan, SPRI senior vp marketing, acquisitions and local productions Sal Ladestro and Robinson. We'll shoot it somewhere in China, but until I read the script we won't know the budget, Wigan said. Ever known a sequel to be cheaper than the original?
The team, gearing up to co-host what will be one of the biggest parties during this year's Festival de Cannes with MTV tonight, said the rollout of Kung Fu Hustle had been unprecedented in size and scope for an Asian filmmaker.
The buzz in Cannes is high for a film that is not part of the official festival lineup. Ladestro said Cannes provided an excellent platform to launch a film across the whole of the West, with the world's press all looking to the Croisette. The whole of Sony has got behind this title, Wigan said. We try to make a film first and foremost for its own territory. We have the capacity, as a worldwide business, to deliver the movie to audiences around the world.
Kung Fu Hustle a follow-up to Chow's Asian box office smash Shaolin Soccer, also set records in Hong Kong. Sony Pictures Classics released the movie in the US and scooped up $14 million at the North American box office while the movie has taken in north of $75 million to date.
(CRI May 17, 2005)