Cannes: Steven Soderbergh's Top-Secret 'Logan Lucky' Sells to China (Exclusive)

Steven Soderbergh - H 2016
Walter McBride/WireImage

FilmNation has also sold Michael Grandage's 'Genius' and the forthcoming sci-fi film 'Redivider,' starring Dan Stevens, to Shanghai-based Linmon Pictures.

Shanghai-based Linmon Pictures has acquired Steven Soderbergh's top-secret directorial project Logan Lucky for distribution in China.

Channing Tatum, Michael Shannon and Adam Driver are set to star in the film, which will mark Soderbergh's return to feature filmmaking. Soderbergh hasn't helmed a movie since 2013's medical thriller Side Effects. The film features Tatum and Shannon as brothers who plan a heist during a high-profile NASCAR race.

The deal was part of a trio of sales made by FilmNation to Linmon. The Chinese company also has acquired Michael Grandage's Genius, starring Colin Firth, Jude Law and Nicole Kidman, and forthcoming sci-fi Redivider, starring Dan Stevens and directed by Tim Smit.

China release dates for the three films will be determined by the country's state regulators. 

"The Chinese audience is maturing very quickly," Linmon CEO Zhou Yuan told THR. "This is the time to bring more sophisticated and diverse projects to the market. We want to be a pioneer in this area."

Zhou cited The Revenant, which grossed $68.7 million in China, as proof that star-driven dramas can find an audience in the country. 

Linmon Pictures was launched in 2014 by Zhou, former head of Shanghai Media Group, and fellow SMG albums Su Xiao, Chen Fei and Xu Xiao’ou. The boutique studio was set up with an initial $15 million (RMB100 million) round of financing from Chinese tech giant Tencent. In March, Linmon closed a successful B round, receiving a total of $76 million (RMB500) from Hony Capital, Tencent and leading Chinese television network Hunan TV.

In its first two years of operation, Linmon produced several high-profile Chinese TV dramas, including Chronicle of Life and To Be a Better Man. The company is now making an ambitious push into film production and distribution and also plans to add a talent management operation and a digital production house. 

"We'd like to establish more partnerships with other established Western producers," Zhou said. "China is the only big market that is still growing and it is our responsibility to help our partners leverage this market."