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China’s Hishow Entertainment has taken stakes in two upcoming features from Nu Image/Millennium Films. In a deal announced on day four of the European Film Market in Berlin, the Chinese indie will co-finance and co-produce Hunter Killer and Escobar. Hishow also acquired Chinese distribution rights on the two titles.
An emerging boutique production house and distributor, Beijing-based Hishow previously was involved in the Chinese release of The Imitation Game, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, which earned $8.6 million in the Middle Kingdom. The company also handled French-Canadian 3D animation Ballerina, which is now on release in the country, having earned $5.3 million after 12 days.
Directed by Donovan Marsh with a screenplay by Peter Craig, Hunter Killer stars Gerard Butler, Gary Oldman and Billy Bob Thornton. The story follows an untested American submarine captain who teams with U.S. Navy SEALs to rescue the Russian president, who has been kidnapped by a rogue general. Escobar, a drama starring Penelope Cruz, Javier Bardem and Peter Sarsgaard, tells a story of a female journalist who strikes up a romantic relationship with the infamous Colombian drug lord. It was written and directed by Fernando León de Aranoa. Both films are due out later this year.
Millenium has enjoyed consistent success in the Chinese market, with the Expendables franchise and London Has Fallen both putting up big numbers. London Has Fallen, also starring Gerard Butler, earned $52 million there, while The Expendables 3 set a high-water mark for the franchise with $72.8 million.
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