China’s Sea & Shell Film Picks up Russian Movie 'The Duelist,' Eyes Record

The Duelist - Still 1 - H 2016
Courtesy of TIFF

The distributor expects that the film will set a record for the highest-grossing Russian movie in China.

China’s Sea & Shell Film Ltd. has picked up the Russian movie Duelyant (The Duelist) for a theatrical release in the world's second-largest box-office market and predicted it would become the highest-grossing Russian movie in China ever.

Featuring local stars Pyotr Fyodorov and Vladimir Mashkov, the movie was written and directed by Alexey Mizgirev and produced by Alexander Rodnyansky, known most recently for Golden Globe-winning and Oscar-nominated Leviathan.

Set in 19th century St. Petersburg, the movie centers on retired officer Yakovlev, who offers to stand in for others in formal duels.

"We are sure that this bold and artfully executed picture will allow Chinese viewers to enjoy Russian culture and feel the touching power of one of the best Russian cinema examples," said Cheng Yuhai, the founder of Sea & Shell Film. He added that he believes The Duelist has the potential to break the record for the highest-grossing Russian movie in China.

Currently, Fyodor Bondarchuk's Stalingrad, which was released in China in 2013 and became the year's highest- grossing foreign non-Hollywood movie, holds that record with $11.5 million.

The Duelist, which had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival earlier this month, opens in Russia on Sept. 29. It will also be released in Imax theaters in Russia, becoming only the third Russian movie in that format after Stalingrad and this year's Ekipazh (Crew).

The Duelist's Chinese release is scheduled for 2017, with a precise date to be determined later.

China, France and Germany are among the few territories not covered by a global distribution deal between The Duelist's producers and Sony Pictures.