London-based film distributor Metrodome has acquired theatrical
rights to Chinese director Feng Xiaogang's latest blockbuster,
Assembly, and will screen it this spring, the Shanghai
Youth Daily reported.
This is the first time that a non-kung fu Chinese movie has
widely hit British cinemas.
Metrodome also picked up the UK rights for Feng's 2006 all-star
production The Banquet, and plans to roll it out after
A distribution director of Huayi Brothers film company, Ms. Bi,
told the newspaper that Metrodome cemented the deal by offering the
highest price among four British distributors. Assembly
cost about 20 percent more than The Banquet, she said, but
refused to reveal the exact figures.
"Metrodome signed the contract with us at the end of last
December," Bi said. "Assembly made such a high income at
Chinese box offices that western media covered it a lot. So they
wanted to take the chance to make an early theatrical release."
Wang Zhonglei, president of Huayi Brothers, said the
international distribution of the movie has brought in some two
million US dollars from French, Russian, Korean and British
"Both Feng Xiaogang and I were surprised to see its popularity
among foreign distributors, as it is not an action movie," said
Wang. "We didn't expect this reaction from the international
market, because there was no precedent of any Chinese war movie
being sold to foreign countries. But I got positive feedback when I
talked with the distributors in the U.S."
Assembly tells the story of a soldier who seeks
recognition and honor for his fallen comrades in the Chinese civil
war of the 1940s.
The Banquet, starring actress Zhang Ziyi, is a loose
adaptation of Shakespeare's "Hamlet" set in ancient China.
(CRI January 20, 2008)