'The Butcher, The Chef and The Swordsman' Gets March U.S. Bow

The Chinese Arthur legend film will play in AMC theaters, distributed by China Lion.

BEIJING -- Fox International Productions and China Lion Film Distribution said Wednesday they will release the Mandarin-language martial arts film The Butcher, The Chef and The Swordsman on March 17 in North America, Australia and New Zealand, simultaneously with its premiere in China.

Directed by up-and-coming Mongolian-Chinese filmmaker Wuershan and presented by Bourne Identity producer and director Doug Liman, the PG-13-rated Butcher is a stylized thriller rooted in a Chinese legend about a mystical blade that changes the fate of each of its three ambitious owners.

Produced by Daniel Yu and Tang Xiru, Butcher was executive produced by Tang, Liman, Wang Wei, Shao Yiding, and Yang Xinliang. The film is an FIP co-production with Beijing-based Taihe Universal Film Investment and Yu’s First Cuts Features.

In North America, Butcher will be showcased via China Lion’s exclusive Chinese film distribution arrangement with AMC, the No. 2 U.S. exhibitor with 5,500 screens in the U.S. and Toronto, and with exhibitor Cineplex in Vancouver.

“We are honored that Fox International Productions is working with China Lion on this fantastic picture,” China Lion CEO Milt Barlow said in a statement. “We believe that as well as being keenly anticipated by our core Chinese audience in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Toronto and Vancouver, the film will have the ability to cross over to a wider mainstream American audience.”

“We were thrilled when China Lion approached us to be a partner on the distribution of this genre-defying film and we felt their unique experience providing films for the Chinese Diaspora would be a significant asset working with us in the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand," FIP president Sanford Panitch said.

China Lion was formed in November 2010 to serve AMC’s customers with 15 Chinese films per year, targeting primarily the roughly 2.5 million Chinese living mostly in and around New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Toronto.

So far, China Lion has released Aftershock and If You Are the One II, both by director Feng Xiaogang and both from Huayi Brothers Media.