Matt Damon’s The Great Wall becomes biggest US-China co-production
Upcoming fantasy epic The Great Wall features a cast led by Matt Damon and is the biggest US-China co-production ever made. Filmed on location in the Chinese city of Qingdao, the story posits that China’s Great Wall was in fact built to keep out fantastical monsters.
Directed by star Chinese filmmaker Zhang Yimou, The Great Wall has a production budget of USD 150 million. The movie also features Hong Kong’s Andy Lau, while Damon’s compatriot Willem Dafoe appears in a supporting role.
“The outlook from the beginning was this is an international, English-language movie with Matt Damon and monsters, and it speaks to a specific demographic, and it happens to have Chinese themes,” said Yimou at a press event in Beijing reported by AP.
As an official Chinese co-production, The Great Wall will bypass China’s strict annual quota on foreign film releases. Just 34 foreign movies are allowed into Chinese cinemas each year, but Hollywood productions still dominate the national box office.
The co-production status is notoriously difficult to attain. However, major Hollywood productions are increasingly gaining access to the Chinese market, through co-productions or other forms of deal-making.
In related news, in the last few weeks Los Angeles-Beijing Studios has been launched with a base in California to encourage more US-China co-productions.
Separately, promotional work has started for an unofficial sequel to the classic British movie Chariots of Fire that filmed partly in China, while director Catherine Hardwicke has announced plans to film an historical romance in the country.
The Great Wall is scheduled for a US release in late 2016.
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