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China will invest $15 million in a sequel to Russia’s top-grossing local movie of 2014, Viy, starring Jason Flemyng and Rutger Hauer, according to the movie’s Russian producer.
“The script has passed [Chinese] censorship and an investment contract is being prepared,” producer Alexey Petrukhin was quoted as saying by the Russian daily Izvestia. “We have reached an agreement with the state-run company China Film Group, which is going to be our distributor.”
According to Petrukhin, the Chinese investment of $15 million is to cover just under one half of the movie’s announced budget of $36 million.
Centered on the story of a British traveler who was commissioned by Russian Emperor Peter the First to travel to Russia’s Far East and ended up in China, the film is set to be Russia’s highest-budget co-production of all time.
The film is also expected to symbolize a new era in film collaboration between Russia and China, which the two countries have discussed extensively over the past year.
The first Viy film, based on a story by 19th century Russian author Nikolai Gogol, was made as a co-production between Russia, Ukraine and the Czech Republic with a budget of $26 million.
Released in January 2014, it grossed $34.6 million in theaters, becoming the year’s top-grossing local movie.
Earlier this month, the movie’s producers announced that Flemyng and Hauer agreed to a lower fee for Viy 2 that was originally negotiated, taking into consideration the financial crisis in Russia.
Jackie Chan and Chinese actress Xingtong Yao are also cast in the movie, which is to be directed by Oleg Stepchenko, like the first Viy movie.
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