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BEIJING — The Mandarin-language remake of What Women Want, starring Andy Lau and Gong Li, will open at select North American theaters day-and-date with its China premiere on Feb. 3, the first day of the Lunar New Year, distributor China Lion said on Friday.
China Lion, which started putting Chinese-language films into AMC cinemas in the U.S. and Canada last year, also will release the picture written and directed by Chen Daming into theaters in Australia and New Zealand on the same day.
The romantic comedy produced by Beijing-based and New York-listed Bona Entertainment Co. is based on the Paramount Pictures film of the same name directed by Nancy Myers a decade ago.
Working from a screenplay by Josh Goldsmith and Cathy Yuspa, director Chen adapted the story that revolves around a chauvinistic executive, originally played by Mel Gibson. Now played by Lau, who gains the ability to hear what women are thinking, a power that leads to a fraught and comedic romantic relationship with his workplace rival, an aggressive advertising executive first played by Helen Hunt and now played by Gong.
Lau, the Hong Kong actor-singer, who holds the Hong Kong Guinness Record for the most music awards, has starred in over 100 films, including Infernal Affairs, House of Flying Daggers and the 2010 Chinese box office hit Detective Dee & The Mystery of the Phantom Flame.
Gong was first noticed in the West for her 1987 appearance in Zhang Yimou’s directorial debut, Red Sorghum, and has gone on to star in Chinese classics such as Raise the Red Lantern and Farewell My Concubine, and crossed over into Hollywood films such as Memoirs of a Geisha and last year’s Shanghai.
The Bona film is a co-production with Emperor Motion Pictures of Hong Kong, CJ Entertainment of South Korea and the China Film Group in Beijing, the nation’s state-run film studio.
China Lion will open What Women Want, subtitled in English, at AMC theaters in cities where there are large concentrations of ethnic Chinese moviegoers, such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Toronto, Boston, Seattle and Washington, D.C., and at Cineplex theaters in Vancouver.
China Lion, run by former Village Roadshow CEO Milt Barlow and by Technicolor China veteran Jiang Yanming, plans the overseas release of 10 to 15 Chinese films each year. Its next North America and China day-and-date release will be the March 18 premiere of the Fox International Productions film The Butcher, The Chef and the Swordsman.
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