China's Zonbo and Singapore's Homerun Announce $77 Million, Five-Picture Slate

The slate's centerpiece will be a Sino-Korean remake of 'Dangerous Liaisons.

SINGAPORE – China’s Zonbo Media and Singapore’s Homerun Asia announced Tuesday a 400-500 million yuan ($62-77 million) slate of five co-productions, launching their strategic partnership with a $15 million Chinese remake of French literature classic Dangerous Liaisons with Korean director Hur Jin-ho (Christmas in August).

The slate also includes 1965, a $5 million Crash-style multi-narrative, social-political thriller set against the backdrop of the founding of Singapore by director Lee Thean-jeen (Homecoming), with Peter Chan (Wu Xia, The Warlords) as supervisory director.

The collaboration aims to create new Asian movies for a worldwide audience, said Chen Weiming, founder and chairman of Zonbo Media, which is one of the major distributors of Chinese films in Korea. “Our companies share an international outlook. Together we hope to branch out of our countries into the international market,” Chen said.

Zonbo will handle distribution of the films in China, Hong Kong, Korea and Japan, while Homerun will handle Southeast Asia.

Set in 1930s Shanghai, Dangerous Liaisons will begin filming in September. Korean director Hur, who had worked with Zonbo previous on April Snow, was chosen for the film because “the 1930s subject matter has been done many, many times before. In addition, Dangerous Liaisons is an international story, so a different viewpoint would bring a different element to the film,” said Yun.

Top Korean and Chinese actors and actresses are now being considered for the leads, including Fan Bingbing and Zhou Xun.

1965 follows the stories of Chinese immigrants in Singapore from the 1930s and culminating with Singapore independence.

“We went through a lot of soul searching before we decide to make the film,” said Yun. “Why would people be interested in this subject matter? But something in me tells me it’s a story screaming to be told, because it tells about what happened at that time. When we showed the first draft to Peter Chan, he was flying from Beijing back to Hong Kong, he told me, ‘Daniel, I cried.’ The other reason we want to involve someone overseas, there’s always a check and balance about how international we can be.”

As supervisory director, Chan and his We Pictures are involved in the casting and script development.

The companies intend to break into the Chinese market with 1965, to be shot in Singapore, Malaysia, and China, and to be dubbed into English, Malay and various Chinese dialects including Mandarin.