'Assembly' plans debut of Olympian proportions


BEIJING -- Director Feng Xiaogang will unveil his civil war film "Assembly" on Dec. 18 in the 10,000-seat Olympic boxing venue, Huayi Brothers Pictures said Monday.

The film's Chinese premiere will stretch to three hours and include a celebration beginning at 7 p.m. featuring the film's stars -- Zhang Hanyu, Deng Chao, Yuen Wenkang and Tang Yan -- along with such celebrities as Zhang Ziyi, mainland China's most famous comic actor Ge You, Hong Kong director Stephen Chow and composer Tan Dun.

Beijing's Workers Arena will host the event, a warm-up for its turn next year as the site for boxing events during the 2008 Olympic Games.

The film's premiere marks the 10-year anniversary of China's so-called genre of New Year films. In China, where many cannot afford movie tickets, viewers long have been in the habit of going to the cinema only once per year.

Starting with "Dream Factory" in 1997, Feng has been the unrivaled king of the New Year film at the boxoffice, earning record-breaking sums from late December through the Lunar New Year in late January and early February.

"Assembly," shot in the winter in China's borderlands with North Korea, will be screened with help from a special sound and projection team from the U.S. brought in to wow the audience in the sports stadium at the edge of the central business district of China's capital.

"Our story will shock and move all the audience. It is an honest movie," Huayi president Wang Zhonglei said.