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Thread: Lost in Russia

  1. #1
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    Lost in Russia

    I'm embarrassed that we never started individual threads for the previous two Lost in installments, something that came to my attention after reviewing Detective Chinatown and Buddies in India yesterday. Lost in Thailand was Wang Baoqiang, and had a significant Kung Fu angle given his origin. Maybe I'll add a Lost in Thailand review here later.

    Chinese Comedy Hitmaker Xu Zheng Taking Blockbuster 'Lost In' Franchise to Russia
    2:43 AM PST 2/4/2019 by Karen Chu , Patrick Brzeski


    VCG / Getty
    Xu Zheng

    The first two films in the Chinese road movie series — both of which Xu co-wrote, directed and starred in — earned a combined $463 million.

    The third installment of China's blockbuster Lost in franchise is heading to Russia, with series creator Xu Zheng returning to co-write, direct and star.

    Shooting at Russian locations began Jan. 24 and the filmmakers are targeting a release date during Chinese New Year in 2020, the film's producer, Huanxi Media, told THR in a statement.

    Lost in Russia will follow in the footsteps of comedy mega-hits Lost in Thailand (2012) and Lost in Hong Kong (2015), which became the number one and two highest-grossing films of all time in China at the time of their respective release, with a combined take of $463 million.

    The Lost in formula combines the classic road movie with a fish-out-of-water slapstick comedy. The first film co-starred Xu, Wang Baoqiang and Huang Bo as two scientists searching for their boss in the Land of Smiles, accompanied by a goofball hanger-on who just wants to experience the seedy cliches of traveling in Thailand. The film and its Thai setting proved so popular that it triggered a Chinese outbound tourism boom to Thailand.

    The sequel, Lost in Hong Kong, again starred Xu, this time with Bao Bei'er, Zhao Wei and Du Juan. This time the story centered on a forgotten past romance, and the visual style and various set pieces were packed with references to beloved classic Hong Kong films from the 1980s and 90s.

    Part of Lost in Russia's Chinese title roughly translates to "Awkward Mom," an apparent reference to a dominant female character who will star opposite Xu Zheng, the casting for which has yet to be revealed. Apart from the Russian setting and a travelogue storytelling style similar to the earlier installments, little has been revealed about the third film. So far, Huanxi Media has only offered that the story will center on "family relationships."

    A rising powerhouse in the Chinese industry, Huanxi Media was founded in 2015 by Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon co-producer Dong Ping, Xu Zheng, Crazy Stone director Ning Hao and former attorney Steven Xiang. Heavyweight filmmakers including Wong Kar Wai, Zhang Yimou and Peter Chan also have stakes in the company, which has contractual relationships with a range of other influential Chinese filmmakers, such as Jia Zhangke (Ash Is the Purest White), Manfred Wong (The Storm Riders), Wang Xiaoshuai (Beijing Bicycle) and Li Yang (Blind Shaft). The company was behind Xu's most recent smash-hit star vehicle, the social dramedy Dying to Survive, which raked in $453 million last summer to become the third highest-grossing film of 2018 at China's box office.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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  2. #2
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    IMAX 2020 CNY re-releases



    Five Chinese New Years to Release in IMAX

    Hong Kong filmmaker Peter Chan’s Leap, a film about the China’s national women’s volleyball team, has been set to hit over 660 IMAX theatres in China on January 25, 2020, the first day of the Chinese New Year, according to an official announcement released today. Along with the previously announced films including Detective Chinatown 3, Lost in Russia, The Rescue, Vanguard, there will be five Chinese films to be shown on IMAX screens during the lunar new year holiday. Among them, Detective China town 3 was entirely shot by ALEXA IMAX cameras. This makes Detective Chinatown 3 the fourth commercial film worldwide and the second in Asia that is shot by ALEXA IMAX. IMAX China also unveiled a special poster today, which features comics avatars of characters in the movies.
    I feel so behind. I've not seen any of these films.

    THREADS
    2020 Year of the Rat
    Detective Chinatown 3
    Lost in Russia
    The Rescue
    Vanguard
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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  3. #3
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    The U.S. repercussions of cornovirus Chinese cinema quarentine

    U.S. Release of Chinese New Year Films Canceled as Coronavirus Crisis Escalates
    5:43 AM PST 1/23/2020 by Patrick Brzeski


    'Detective Chinatown 3'

    Warner Bros. was set to release Wanda's 'Detective Chinatown 3' on Saturday, giving the action comedy the biggest North American outing to date for a Mandarin-language movie.
    China's major movie studios are scrapping the North American release plans for their big Lunar New Year blockbusters after being forced to shelve the projects at home because of the growing coronavirus outbreak.

    On Thursday afternoon, the leading studios in Beijing announced simultaneously that all seven of the major films that were set for release on Saturday, the first day of the weeklong Lunar holiday, would be put on hold.

    Chinese New Year is the biggest box office period in the world by far, and the coming week was expected to generate as much as $1 billion in ticket sales revenue (think the Christmas/New Year's corridor on steroids). But with confirmed cases of the coronavirus climbing to nearly 600, medical authorities in China warned the public against congregating in crowded places, and distributors interpreted that as applying to cinemas. There were fears that even if the releases went ahead, theaters would be deserted.

    Warner Bros had picked up the North American rights to what was looking to be the holiday season frontrunner, Wanda's action comedy sequel Detective Chinatown 3. Warners had set the film for a continent-wide, North American release on Friday. The studio described the release plans — spanning 150 cinemas with limited IMAX engagements — as the biggest outing for a Chinese-language film in recent memory.

    Sources at Wanda tell The Hollywood Reporter that the Warners release will be put on hold in tandem with the China release delay.

    Dante Lam's patriotic action adventure film The Rescue, produced for upwards of $90 million, was similarly set for a significant North American opening courtesy of China's own CMC Pictures. A source close to CMC says those plans also have been scrapped.

    Hong Kong-based Huanxi Media would have been the studio to watch this Chinese New Year season. The fast-growing studio had two of the season's most-buzzed-about projects, Xu Zheng's comedy smash Lost in Russia (a sequel to his beloved 2015 blockbuster Lost in Hong) and Leap, Peter Chan's decade-spanning sports drama, starring Gong Li and Huang Bo, about China's national volleyball team. Both projects had been generating strong word of mouth throughout the industry in Beijing, and a source at Huanxi said the studio was in advanced discussions to sell the U.S. rights to both projects. "These discussions will definitely be impacted now," the source said.

    The Chinese studios had several good reasons for making sure their most important movies of the calendar didn't open offshore before at home in China.

    The Chinese theatrical market is profoundly trend driven, with online buzz driving or dampening the box office momentum of a film within hours of its release. Chinese films also still make the vast majority of their money in their domestic market. Last year's Chinese New Year champion The Wandering Earth (2018), for example, earned $5.8 million in North America compared to $690 million in China. Studios, naturally, would be very reluctant to risk having the buzz surrounding a comparatively low-value U.S. outing travel back to China to affect the movie's real earning potential. A pirate copy of a tentpole hitting the internet before it opens in China could be even more devastating.

    Chinese distributors also are required to get special permission to open a film overseas before its local release, so it's not clear whether going ahead with the U.S. openings would have even been legal.

    As news surrounding the coronavirus has worsened, shares in many of China's leading film companies have plummeted on the local stock markets this week. Distributors and theaters are working with ticketing platforms to offer refunds on the more than $50 million in tickets that had pre-sold just for Saturday. The Beijing film industry appears to be in a collective holding pattern, waiting anxiously with the entire country to see how the next phase in the coronavirus crisis will unfold.
    THREADS
    2020 Year of the Rat
    The Rescue
    Lost in Russia
    Detective Chinatown III
    Coronavirus
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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  4. #4
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    Chollywood falls ill

    JANUARY 23, 2020 11:13AM PT
    How the Wuhan Coronavirus Infected the Chinese Film Industry
    By REBECCA DAVIS and PATRICK FRATER


    CREDIT: YONHAP/EPA-EFE/SHUTTERSTOCK

    Just days ago, no one would have predicted that China’s most lucrative film-going season was about to be derailed by the escalating epidemic of a novel coronavirus that is now rapidly spreading through the country and beyond.

    Variety takes a look at how the box office in the world’s second largest film market has been overturned by a public health crisis that has made gathering in enclosed cinema spaces a health risk.

    Pre-Sales and Promotion

    Earlier this week, it seemed to be business as usual for the Spring Festival holiday release window. Production teams collectively spent a reported $144 million (RMB1 billion) on publicity for the seven blockbusters scheduled to release this Friday and Saturday, the eve and New Year’s Day of the new lunar year of the rat. The holiday is a time for family gatherings, when millions who’ve saved up all year take one of their few vacations, and head back to their hometowns. It is the largest annual human migration in the world.

    It seemed that the biggest setback would be a marketing blow to Peter Chan’s volleyball drama “Leap,” which suddenly changed its Chinese title from “Chinese Women’s Volleyball” to “Win the Championship” the day before pre-sales began.

    The new name, unknown to viewers bombarded with posters and materials for the other, is the same as the short made by rival director Xu Zheng that was included in the widely viewed propaganda film “My People, My Country,” and has caused confusion. Chan’s title change decision appears to have been a way to avoid fallout from dissatisfaction within the sports community of how the women’s team is portrayed, rather than government censorship.

    Pre-sales for the seven films had already reached a reported $67.5 million (RMB468 million) by Thursday morning. “Detective Chinatown 3” had pulled ahead as the front-runner, setting a new pre-sale record by selling more than $14 million (RMB100 million) worth of tickets in just 23 hours.

    Monday: Concern Mounts

    By Jan. 20, concerns ramp up about the spread of the coronavirus due to mass travel ahead of Chinese New Year, as the death toll and infection tally mounts. Chinese authorities report three deaths and more than 200 cases in the country and confirm that the disease can in fact spread through human-to-human transmission. Since the first case outside of China was discovered on Jan. 13, the virus has spread to Thailand, Japan and South Korea. On Jan. 21, the first reported case is found in the U.S., in Seattle.

    Ticket sales in Wuhan were mounting swimmingly before Sunday (Jan. 19), accounting for around 2% of the national box office, on average. But from Sunday onwards, ticket sales rapidly declined, dropping from 2.2% of the national total to 0.5% in the space of three days. From Monday, film company shares begin to fall, including those for Wanda Film and China Film.

    On Wednesday (Jan. 22), China’s major ticketing platforms Maoyan and Tao Piaopiao put out official statements announcing unconditional refunds for any tickets bought in Wuhan.

    The same day, Chinese authorities announce a quarantine for the entire city of Wuhan and its 11 million residents, effective from the next day. Travel restrictions are planned to shut down public transit out of the city. Chaos ensues as residents fight to get out of the metropolis before lock down sets in Thursday morning at 10AM local time, with Chinese reports estimating that some 300,000 fled.

    Thursday: Box Office Meltdown

    By Thursday (Jan. 23) morning, the hashtag “Why don’t the spring festival films change their release dates?” is a top trending item on Weibo, China’s Twitter-equivalent. Production teams are faced with a lose-lose decision: risk angering the public by keeping their film in the line-up, or pull out and lose millions in P&A.

    Official film Weibo accounts start to slash promotional material and instead boost posts cheering for “frontline medical workers.” Then, in quick succession, all seven issue statements that they are formally withdrawing their titles. No future release dates have been announced.

    Animations “Boonie Bears: The Wild Life” and “Jiang Ziya” pulled out first. “Now that the epidemic is happening, we must stand impregnably united, and focus on the disease prevention and saving lives,” the “Jiang Ziya” promo site said. “We salute those working on the front lines of the epidemic and apologize to theater workers nationwide.”

    The other titles swiftly follow. “Movies are just a part of life; life and safety are more important, since ‘movies are short and life is long,'” said the team behind “Leap.” It said it was pulling out after “careful consideration of the risk of disease transmission in a confined space.”

    Lam’s “The Rescue” was on-brand and adopting the most rousing tone, writing: “At the moment, many medical and rescue personnel are sticking to their posts, stepping forward bravely at the key moment of danger and disaster! The movie ‘The Rescue’ is about exactly this kind of spirit. Let us as millions, all of one mind, with unshakeably unity, win the battle of preventing an epidemic!”

    “Lost in Russia” director Xu Zheng wrote a post expressing his gratitude to Hengdian Film, his producer Huanxi Media, and the marketing team, whose early work has been washed away. “All this is less important than eliminating the hidden dangers of the disease!”

    Ticketing platforms Maoyan and Tao Piaopiao now promise to refund all tickets without question, a process that may take up to a week. Cinema chains say they have been overwhelmed with calls from patrons asking for refunds.

    Cinemas in Wuhan and other nearby locked-down cities have been entirely shut down, and authorities have issued a mandatory face mask policy there for public spaces. Cinemas elsewhere remain operational for the moment, advertising that they have boosted disinfection measures and ventilation for theaters.

    Large-scale cultural activities like temple fairs have been cancelled, and cultural institutions such as museums have slashed activities to reduce visitor tallies. The Forbidden City in Beijing will be shuttered from Saturday.

    Over the course of the day, China has locked down some 20 million people in Wuhan and neighboring cities by indefinitely banning planes and trains. The death toll has risen to at least 17, with some 517 affected. The virus has now been detected in Japan, Hong Kong, Macau, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam and the U.S. and U.K. The WHO is currently mulling whether to declare the epidemic a global health emergency.

    On Thursday – the last chance for business before a recess of five full trading days for the spring festival holiday – shares of a number of major film companies plummeted. Wanda Film closed almost 7% lower after falling 20% over the previous five trading days, and China Film closed nearly 5% lower, down 17% over the past five trading days.
    THREADS
    2020 Year of the Rat
    The Rescue
    Lost in Russia
    Detective Chinatown III
    Legend of Deification
    Coronavirus
    Chollywood rising
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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  5. #5
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    Free on Huanxi Premium

    Too bad I don't have Huanxi Premium.

    Chinese Comedy 'Lost in Russia' to Debut Online for Free After Coronavirus Cancellations (Exclusive)
    6:25 PM PST 1/23/2020 by Patrick Brzeski


    Huanxi Media
    'Lost in Russia'

    The film was expected to be one of the big theatrical blockbusters of the Lunar New Year season for studio Huanxi before the epidemic shuttered cinemas nationwide.
    China's leading film studios were forced to cancel the holiday release of their biggest movies of the year yesterday after the growing coronavirus epidemic cast a pall over the country's annual Lunar New Year festivities.

    Now, rising film company Huanxi Media is responding to the setback with a bold but fan-pleasing move: The studio has decided to release its much-anticipated comedy tentpole Lost in Russia online for free.

    Lost in Russia, directed by and starring comedy superstar Xu Zheng, was widely expected to be one of the big winners of China's 2020 New Year box office, which, prior to the coronavirus outbreak, was forecasted to generate as much as $1 billion in ticket sales over the coming week. The first two films in the Lost In franchise earned a combined $473 million in 2012 and 2015 — at a time when China's box office was much smaller than it is now.

    Huanxi told The Hollywood Reporter Friday morning that Lost In Russia will be made available for free viewing over its in-house streaming platform Huanxi Premium at midnight tonight. Before the coronavirus cancellation, the film was set to get a huge nationwide theatrical release today.

    The move is all but certain to delight fans, as mass moviegoing has become a big Lunar New Year tradition in China, and cinemas across the country are currently shuttered because of the government's advice to avoid congregating in crowded places.

    Lost in Russia's Chinese title roughly translates to "Awkward Mother." The film follows the bumpy journey through Russia of a manipulative older Chinese mother and her middle-aged son who still wants to rebel and escape his mother's smothering influence. Xu, famous for his comedy touch, said his goal was to make viewers reflect on the often funny but deeply loving nature of the mother-child relationship in China.

    In a blast of promotional material set to be released midday in China announcing the free streaming plan, Huanxi told the anxious Chinese populace to "stay safely at home and watch Lost in Russia with your mom."

    Aside from its obvious promotional savvy — and public health benefits — Huanxi's move has an interesting business logic. Underlying the plan is a surprise new deal with internet powerhouse ByteDance, the company behind China's wildly popular Toutiao and Douyin services, and the international social media phenomenon TikTok.

    On Friday, Huanxi revealed that it has entered into a cooperation agreement with ByteDance that will involve the companies working together to leverage Huanxi's premium film and television content across both of their video platforms. Under the deal, ByteDance will pay Huanxi a one-time fee of 700 million Hong Kong dollars (just under $100 million). The two companies' video services will pool content, cross-promote and also share advertising and transactional video-on-demand revenue.

    The giveaway of Lost in Russia (the local equivalent of Disney deciding to open the paywall to Disney+ and release a new Avengers movie for free) — at a time when hundreds of millions of Chinese are nervously stuck at home with little to do — ensures that the new partnership starts with a bang. The attendant advertising revenue of the free online release could also prove enormous.

    In a Friday filing to the Hong Kong stock exchange, where Huanxi is listed, the company said that the current partnership with ByteDance constitutes a "phase 1" agreement that will run for six months. The two parties are currently at work in negotiating a longer-lasting "phase 2" deal, which will entail the joint development of their longform streaming channels, as well as shared investments in producing and acquiring high-end film and TV content.

    Huanxi also has retained the theatrical rights to Lost in Russia, should it decide to bring the film out in cinemas after the public health crisis is resolved.

    The late-hour surprise online release was made possible by the fact that Huanxi fully owns Lost in Russia, a rarity in China, where nearly all major films are co-financed and cut up into small equity pieces (star Xu Zheng is a significant shareholder in Huanxi and one its founding partners). The company previously had inked a minimum guarantee agreement with distributor Hengdian Film, which was promising a minimum box office performance of RMB 2.4 billion ($345 million) for Lost in Russia. That agreement was voided late Thursday and Huanxi is expected to return the RMB 600 million ($86.5 million) fee that Hengdian had paid for the theatrical rights.

    Huanxi also has a large stake in Peter Chan's widely anticipated Chinese New Year film Leap, an inspirational sports drama about China's Olympic volleyball team. Leap and the various other Chinese New Year theatrical tentpoles — including Wanda's comedy action sequel Detective Chinatown 3, Dante Lam's patriotic action epic The Rescue, and animations Boonie Bears: The Wild Life and Jiang Ziya, among others — are currently in a holding pattern, awaiting official indications of how the coronavirus emergency will unfold.
    THREADS
    2020 Year of the Rat
    Lost in Russia
    Coronavirus
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

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