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Thread: The Rescue

  1. #1
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    The Rescue

    FEBRUARY 8, 2019 10:15PM PT
    Why Dante Lam’s ‘Rescue’ May Be a Lifeline for the Chinese Movie Industry (EXCLUSIVE)
    By PATRICK FRATER
    Asia Bureau Chief


    CREDIT: COURTESY OF CHINA MODERN FILM AND TELEVISION DEVELOPMENT

    How do you follow “Operation Mekong” and “Operation Red Sea,” two of China’s biggest hit films in recent years?

    For Dante Lam, who directed those two movies, it’s not by further cranking up the body count or delivering yet more on-screen patriotism. Instead, he and producer Candy Leung are now working on one of the costliest films in Chinese history, “The Rescue,” a thriller with four massive action sequences that each could drive a movie like “Deepwater Horizon” or “xXx.” The film focuses on an emergency rescue operative and his pilot girlfriend, whose team find courage and camaraderie in adversity.

    The $90 million budget is more than double the $38 million cost of “Operation Red Sea,” at a time when the Chinese industry is currently undergoing a painful slowdown. But with Lam’s last two films clocking up a combined $750 million at the Chinese box office, the project has been put together without recourse to a major Chinese or Hollywood studio. And it has already bagged a release date for Chinese New Year in February 2020.

    The picture is not only a showcase for Lam’s particular brand of kinetic action directing. It could also launch Eddie Peng, China’s hottest male actor, to global stardom. Taiwan-born Peng spent his teenage years in Canada, speaks English comfortably and, after a decade of film and TV work, including four movies with Lam, is ready for bigger things.

    Having delivered two movies whose portrayal of Chinese military operations overseas, complete with abundant patriotic messages, may have fallen flat with international audiences, Leung and Lam have been careful to position “The Rescue” differently. National prowess replaces nationalism, and high-stakes escapades replace gunfire.

    The film focuses on China’s Coast Guard rescue organization, which is the largest in the world and may be one of the best-equipped. The film has garnered financial backing and production support from China’s Ministry of Transport.

    That works for Lam, who is happy working both sides of the Hong Kong-mainland Chinese border. “I need a lot of space for my movies,” he says. “Besides, both places offer different creative opportunities. ‘Operation Mekong’ and ‘Operation Red Sea” would have been very difficult to do in Hong Kong.”

    Lam and Leung have enlisted some of the world’s best technical crew for their latest mission, most notably cinematographer Peter Pau (“Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon”) and Martin Laing (“Avatar,” “Terminator: Salvation”).

    “Dante has a high degree of certainty,” Pau says. “He concentrates precisely on his strengths and is very bold, sometimes even shooting a big scene in a single take. Dante left decisions about color and lighting to me, while concentrating himself on the acting performances and the action.

    “This film has fire, explosions, aerial shots and underwater sequences. I want him to have the best-ever action sequences. And be ready for his spontaneity.”

    Laing likens Lam to Michael Bay, Steven Spielberg and James Cameron. “Dante needs to understand how stuff works, and the connections between things. Then he is ready to blow them up,” says Laing. The film takes in oil rigs, the sea, and underwater and mountain rescue scenes. “What we have in this film is four or five action sequences that could each be the finale of ‘xXx’ or ‘Sully.’”

    Laing was influential in taking the film to Mexico, where he previously shot Cameron’s “Titanic.” The advantages are the scale of the water tanks at Baja and the relative proximity to Hollywood for top tech crew and special effects. The film will shoot there for two months between March and May. Digital Domain is set as a key effects partner on the film.

    Leading man Peng, who is in his early 30s, Peng has a huge fan following. Shooting a drama scene in a large public hospital in Xiamen, in early January, nearly brought the hospital to a halt as medical staff and orderlies camped out in corridors to get a glimpse. “Rescue” offers him a break from the romantic lead roles he is regularly offered for film and TV.

    “Dante has always seen a different side of me,” says Peng, who has now trained to become a proficient diver. “What is so interesting with Dante is that he is always learning, always transferring his skills and is never satisfied.”

    Leung spent four years talking to China’s Transport Ministry before getting its financial backing and its OK to shoot so much in Mexico.

    “Even with Dante Lam and Eddie Peng on board, it was not easy to pull things together for this movie. The production environment in China is very challenging right now,” she says, referring to the nervousness in the industry amid the government’s tax crackdown. “Getting a movie green-lighted in China is not like Hollywood.”

    In the process, Lam’s script has gone through eight redrafts, and the movie’s scale has grown. “Originally we only had one sinking ship scene,” Leung laughs. “Now we have vastly more.”
    Here's our thread on Operation Red Sea (we did a sweepstakes promo on KFM with that). I thought I reviewed Operation Mekong too here, but I can't find it.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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  2. #2
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    Trailer zu The Rescue 紧急救援 Kinostart 2020

    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
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  3. #3
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    Jan. 25, 2020

    Just might have to catch this on the big screen. I'm sure it will be epically cinematic.

    ASIA DECEMBER 4, 2019 6:00PM PT
    Big-Budget Chinese Action Film ‘The Rescue’ Sets Day-And-Date North American Release
    By PATRICK FRATER
    Asia Bureau Chief


    CREDIT: LIAO13, COURTESY OF CHINA MODERN FILM

    CMC Pictures has acquired rights in North America to “The Rescue,” the Chinese big-budget action film that is expected to dominate Chinese New Year.

    The distributor will release the film in theaters on Jan. 25, 2020 in the U.S. and Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the U.K.

    The film is directed by Dante Lam (“Operation Red Sea,” “Operation Mekong”) and reunites the Hong Kong director with his regular star and “Mekong” partner Eddie Peng.

    The timing puts the film in a day and date pattern synchronized with its outing in mainland China. That capitalizes on Chinese social media reactions, and minimizes cross-border online piracy.

    The story focuses on five characters who form the nucleus of a Coastguard Rescue team. They face diverse emergencies in the air and at sea that force them into joint problem-solving and reveal their different personalities. Alongside Peng, the cast includes Xin Zhilei (“Crosscurrent”) as a female helicopter pilot, Wang Yanlin (“Operation Red Sea”), Lan Yingying, Xu Yang, Li Minchen, and Wang Yutian.

    Production, on a budget of $90 million, was by China Communications Press, China Modern Film And Television Development, Emperor Film Production Company Limited, Tencent Pictures Cultural Diffusion, Bona Film & Television Production, Autonavi YunMap Technology, and Maoyan Weying Culture Media.

    CMC Pictures, part of Li Ruigang’s China Media Capital cluster, has become a significant distributor of Chinese movies in English-language territories. Earlier this year it took hit sci-fi film “The Wandering Earth” to a $5.87 million score in North America. That is far beyond the typical ceiling of $1 million achieved by most Chinese films on stateside release, and a record for the past 10 years. The company also recently handled “My People, My Country,” “Ne Zha,” and “White Storm 2.”

    Featuring large amounts of underwater scenes, the film was largely shot in China and Mexico, where it used the same water tank facilities as “Titanic.” Distinctly different from Lam’s two previous efforts which were more military and nationalist, the director says “The Rescue” focuses on civilian services and “expresses national rescue prowess,” in a way that may be easier to digest for international audiences.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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  4. #4
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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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  5. #5
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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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  6. #6
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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
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

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