Over the past few years, the Chinese market has grown to become the most important foreign market for Hollywood to cater to, which was made even more clear with this weekend's release of Captain America: Civil War. Last weekend, the movie debuted in China, taking in a whopping $220 million in international territories, nearly half of which came from China alone, $95.8 million. Today we have word that Captain America: Civil War directors Anthony Russo and Joe Russo are setting up shop in China to produce a brand new Chinese superhero franchise.
The Hollywood Reporter reveals that the Russo brothers have set up the production company dubbed Anthem & Song, which will team up with Chinese film company Beijing FangJin Visual Media Culture Communication Company to co-produce a new superhero project, tentatively titled A Hero's Awakening. Here's what FangJin CEO Li Xing had to say about the new company in a statement.
"It is fair to say that the Russos are regarded as heroes in the global film business. In the future, everyone will be focused on the China market. By working with the Russos, we want to use the best visual storytelling to make localized films that fit the Chinese market."
The Russo brothers have brought on Anthony Leonardi III, a concept artist who has worked on Game of Thrones, The Jungle Book and Kong: Skull Island, to serve as co-director for A Hero's Awakening along with Chinese director Mushui Feng (Demon Warrior). No story or character details are being released at this time, but this report states that the entire cast will be populated by Chinese actors, including the hero. The movie will kick off a franchise that will consist of three movies, with the Russo brothers said to be actively involved in the movie's casting.
FanJing is planning on fully financing the movie, but they may also bring additional Chinese investors on board. The script is still being worked on, although the writer was not identified, and the budget for A Hero's Awakening has not yet been disclosed. The news comes just months after Warner Bros. announced a 12-movie slate of Chinese movies to be produced by Flagship Entertainment, while DreamWorks Animation is planning a slate of Chinese animated films through its joint venture with Oriental DreamWorks. Last year, the Chinese box office grew a whopping 48% to $6.8 billion, so it's easy to see why these studios are teaming up with Chinese production companies. We'll keep you posted with more development son A Hero's Awakening as soon as we have more details.