Bona’s China Release Slate Highlights

Bona Film Group, one of China’s leading movie studios, is poised to release Jackie Chan-starring “A Legend” on July 12. The film leads off the firm’s summer distribution slate.

“A Legend” is pitched as a $50 million sequel to the 2005 action romance “The Myth” that involved both Chan and director Stanley Tong. Chan plays an archaeologist who discovers a powerful jade artifact that sends him and his assistant back to a tumultuous period in the Western Han Dynasty (206 B.C.-A.D. 24). The role of the assistant is played by Chinese pop star Lay Zhang (aka Zhang Yixing), a veteran of 2023 hit “No More Bets” and Tong and Chan’s 2017 joint effort “Kung Fu Yoga.”

The new movie is the tenth time that Chan and Tong have worked together, following other titles that include “Police Story 3,” “Supercop” and “Vanguard.”

At a press event during the Shanghai International Film Festival this week producers said that a highlight of the film is its use of AI technology to recreate a 27-year-old version of Chan. Other elements of the film, including massive horse-back armies and thousands of soldiers in desert locations, were shot on location in Xinjiang without the use of CGI.

The event also revealed Bona as China marketing and distribution partner for StudioCanal and Heyday Films’ family adventure movie “Paddington in Peru.” In parts of Europe, the film is due a November release. In others. it is due to arrive in cinemas in January 2025.

“A Dream of Red Mansions,” Bona’s reinterpretation of a Chinese classic “The Dream of the Red Chamber” is also set for a July release. Directed by Hu Mei from an adapted screenplay by He Yanjiang, the film started production in 2017, but was interrupted by COVID. Bona said that it is giving the title wide previews in over 50 cities ahead of its July 26 outing.

The company’s biggest investment in the current year is the Dante Lam action spectacular “Operation Leviathan,” which is now in post-production. The film is pitched as a sequel to Lam’s $500 million-grossing 2018 actioner “Operation Red Sea” and involves members of the Chinese navy involved in a daring rescue mission.

“Lam risked his life to get shots done for the film. I know this production will exceed the budget, and all I can do is help secure more investment for them, to ensure everything is done perfectly,” said Bona’s founcer, chairman and CEO Yu Dong, according to state media reports. He called it “a superb military action movie paying tribute to China’s navy.”

The firm is also readying TV series including “Battle of Shangganling” by Hong Kong’s Andrew Lau and “Lin Zexu” by Yin Li.

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