Cannes: Renny Harlin Launches Chinese Production Company
Extraordinary Entertainment's first project will be the big-budget sci-fi film 'Solara,' scripted by the writing team behind the 'Has Fallen' franchise.
Hollywood director-turned-China transplant Renny Harlin has partnered with producer Daljit DJ Parmar to launch Extraordinary Entertainment, a new film finance and production company based in Beijing and Hong Kong.
The new partners say they will focus on developing international co-productions, as well as local-language Chinese productions. The banner also will serve as a directing platform for Harlin, as well as a vehicle for up-and-coming Chinese directors. Parmar will serve as Extraordinary Entertainment's CEO and Harlin as chief creative officer.
The partners said the company is backed by funding from strategic investors targeting the Chinese market, but they declined to share names.
Extraordinary Entertainment's first film project in development is Solara, which Harlin plans to direct. From the writing team of Creighton Rothenberger and Katrin Benedikt (London Has Fallen, Expendables 3, Olympus Has Fallen), Solara is planned as a big-budget Chinese sci-fi epic revolving around an international team that must work together to save Earth from a global catastrophe.
Harlin and Parmar say they have a pipeline of $10 million to $50 million films in the works, as well as premium scripted television projects.
Harlin is best known in Hollywood for his 1990s action hits Die Hard 2, Cliffhanger and The Long Kiss Goodnight. But ever since directing the Jackie Chan action-comedy Skiptrace (2014), co-starring Fan Bingbing and Johnny Knoxville, he has lived and worked in Beijing.
His second Chinese feature, the Alibaba-backed fantasy Legend of the Ancient Sword, is expected to be released later this year, followed by his third Chinese title, the pressure-cooker thriller Bodies at Rest, produced by Wanda and Media Asia.
“My last four years working in China have been some of the most inspiring and productive of my career," Harlin said. "I’m excited to now fulfill my dream of expanding into developing and producing a variety of movies and TV in China. We want to create top-quality entertainment for a Chinese audience and reach out to the international market with co-productions that authentically portray the Chinese spirit, heart, and soul."
Parmar spent the last three years living in Beijing, serving as vp international at Shinework Pictures, a China co-production film company. He served as an executive producer on Jackie Chan's Kung Fu Yoga (2017), which grossed more than $250 million worldwide, and the China-Kazakhstan co-production Composer, which will be released theatrically later in this year.
Parmar brokered the deal together with United Talent Agency on behalf of Harlin. UTA will represent the newly minted company globally. The deal was closed by Stephen L. Saltzman, Paul Hastings LLP, with legal representation by Cao Yu of Haiwen & Partners in China.
"We are confident that Extraordinary Entertainment will excel in this exciting new chapter for cross-border productions,” said UTA head of Asian business development Max Michael. “As UTA has grown its business in Asia, Renny has continued to be a consummate example of Western talent finding success in the Asian marketplace, and we look forward to help guide this new partnership.”
A version of this story appears in The Hollywood Reporter's May 9 daily issue from the Cannes Film Festival.