'Gone With the Bullets' Takes Aim at 'Transformers' China Record

Jiang Wen - H 2014

Jiang Wen - H 2014

Producers see Jiang Wen’s forthcoming action movie packing major domestic firepower

Producers of Chinese director Jiang Wen's 3D epic Gone With the Bullets, a sequel to the wildly successful Let the Bullets Fly in 2010, are confident the movie will restore Chinese cinema to box-office domination and reel in more than the record-breaking Transformers: Age of Extinction when it opens in December.

The bold predications came at a press conference to launch the movie in Beijing, 100 days ahead of its Dec. 18 opening, and featuring Jiang himself, actresses Shu Qi and Zhou Yun, plus the actor Ge You.

This sounds like a tall order, considering Michael Bay’s Transformers: Age of Extinction took a whopping $301 million in China, but Jiang — a onetime bad boy who is one of China’s most talented actors and writers, and has serious art-house chops — has a great track record in China.

Let the Bullets Fly earned $110 million, and Jiang has a keen sense of what is popular among Chinese cinema-goers.

Gone With the Bullets, which is set in Shanghai in the 1920s, is the follow-up, although not exactly a sequel to, Let the Bullets Fly.

In the movie, Ma Zouri (Jiang) and Xiang Feitian (Ge) start a beauty contest that ends tragically, and the story runs from there.

Producers believe Gone With the Bullets will eclipse Transformers: Age of Extinction and set a new box-office record in the world's second-biggest film market.

Other investors were equally upbeat.

One executive from Wanda said the Chinese conglomerate's only fear is that there would be a shortage of tickets because the movie would be too popular.

Jiang himself played down expectations for the film.

“I definitely want to see a big box office for my movie and I want it as big as possible. No matter how high it (box office) goes, I would not be unhappy because it is too high,” he joked.

One of the factors driving the remarkable success of domestic 3D movies in recent years has been their performance at Imax theaters, and Jiang is the first Chinese director to shoot a film with an IMAX 3D digital camera — although he said he had to be convinced of the benefits of three dimensions.

“In the old days it used to make me feel dizzy. But after watching some recent 3D films, it’s better than I expected,” he said.