'Iron Sky 3' in the Works as China Co-Production

Tom Green in Iron Sky The Coming Race
Tomi Tuuliranta

The Finnish sci-fi adventure -- with a bigger budget than previous episodes -- is due for release in 2018.

The company behind Finnish sci-fi franchise Iron Sky is expanding into the Chinese market with plans to produce its third film with Shandong Jiabo Culture Development Co.

Iron Sky: The Ark, like the previous films in the Nazis-on-the-moon comedy series, will be directed by Timo Vuorensola. It is due to go into production in China next year.

Producers say the new film will have a bigger budget than the first two -- Iron Sky and Iron Sky: The Coming Race -- and will hit theaters in 2018.

Distribution will be handled by a "major Chinese distributor" in China and Iron Sky Universe in the rest of the world, according to the film's producers, Finland's Tero Kaukomaa and China's Max Wang, who has written the film's original script. Wang was producer last year on French director Jean-Jacques Annaud's Wolf Totem, which grossed over $110 million at the Chinese box office.

"The Chinese film market is growing faster than any other in the world and is expected to surpass the U.S in a few years," Kaukomaa said. "This is a big step in our mission to expand Iron Sky's franchise globally."

Song Xiangiang, CEO of Jiabo Culture, said: "We are thrilled with Iron Sky: The Ark, a Chinese story and dream on the big screen and the innovative model of the production, which contributes to the richness of international cooperation in the Chinese film market."

The co-producers were brought together by the film's executive producer, May He, head of Longevity International Enterprises of Canada, who has wide experience of working with top Chinese directors and the international film market. She said the new film was "a perfect match" for China, where sci-fi movies are "very well received."