China's Bona Film Slate Includes 'Red 2,' 'Mortal Instruments'

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Yu Dong

CEO Yu Dong predicts "2013 will become Bona's best-ever year at the box office."

Yu Dong, founder and CEO of Bona Film Group, has unveiled an updated slate for the remainder of this year and for the first half of next year and said he expects 2013 to be a record year for the company at the box office.

"Given the diversity of our releases for the second half of the year and our strong distribution capability, we believe 2013 will become Bona's best-ever year at the box office," said Yu.

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Bona is the only Chinese studio on the Nasdaq Stock Market, and Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox owns a 19.9 percent stake in the company.

Yu also has a bullish outlook for the rest of the year at the Chinese box office.

"Box office records were broken as Chinese moviegoers drove industry revenue to nearly $1.8 billion in the first half of 2013, and this momentum is expected to accelerate further through the end of the year," he said.

Yu described industry dynamics in investment, production, distribution and exhibition as "favorable" and said the group is expanding its film pipeline, entry into television, expansion of its film financing capabilities and diversification of its business through growth in the theater segment.

"We believe that we can leverage these positive industry trends to support our success both now and in the future by continuing to deliver high-quality films that appeal to wide audiences in a range of genres," Yu said in a statement, which cited a speech he gave at the 2013 Movie Conference last month.

The upgraded slate includes two imports. Red 2, which opened in the United States in mid-July and features Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren, John Malkovich and Anthony Hopkins, is scheduled for release in China in September.

Constantin's supernatural fantasy The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones is expected to open in China in the fourth quarter of 2013, once the movie passes censorship.

Aug. 16 sees the release of Unbeatable, directed by Dante Lam and starring Nick Cheung and Eddie Peng. The action film tells the story of two men who find redemption through mixed martial arts.

My Lucky Star, a sequel to the hit 2009 film Sophie's Revenge, features Zhang Ziyi and is directed by Dennie Gordon. It is tentatively planned for release in September, around the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival.

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The slate will also include Inferno 3D, a Guangzhou-set disaster movie directed by Oxide & Danny Pang and starring Hong Kong actors Sean Lau, Louis Koo and Angelica Lee.

The White Storm (formerly The Cartel War), directed by Benny Chan and again starring Louis Koo and Sean Lau and also featuring Nick Cheung, is expected to open in the fourth quarter.

Coming up in early 2014 is Jacob Cheung's 3D martial arts epic The White-Haired Witch, featuring Fan Bingbing and Huang Xiaoming.

Action drama From Vegas to Macau, directed by Wong Jing and produced by Andrew Lau, focuses on gambling, a topic long taboo in Chinese cinema. It features Hong Kong actors Chow Yun-Fat and Nicholas Tse and mainland actress Jing Tiang. The movie started shooting on Jul. 28.

A timely choice of subject given the current boom in the real estate market is the latest instalment in the Overheard franchise, the corporate action film Overheard 3, produced by Derek Yee, co-directed by Alan Mak and Felix Chong and starring Sean Lau, Louis Koo and Daniel Wu. The film is currently in postproduction.

Also in postproduction is crime drama Sunspot, which is directed by Chinese director Cao Baoping and stars popular mainland Chinese actors Deng Chao, Duan Yihong, Guo Tao and Wang Luodan.