John Woo's 'Flying Tigers' to Be Released in Two Versions

John Woo P 2012

The Hong Kong director's project about the Chinese Air Force's U.S. pilots during World War II will open in China as a two-part film and elsewhere as a six-hour TV miniseries.

BEIJING – John Woo’s next project has become the latest film to be made with the aim of being released in different versions in and outside mainland China.

According to an announcement released Monday, Cyrte Investments and China Film Group will produce Woo’s Flying Tigers, which revolves around a group of U.S. pilots who joined the Chinese Air Force during World War II to ward off Japanese attacks.

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The film will be a released in China as a two-parter, the statement said, with international audiences getting a six-hour TV miniseries. 

Woo’s previous project, Red Cliff, also opened as two installments in Chinese-speaking markets but was condensed to one film when released abroad.

Principal photography will begin in early 2014, according to the announcement, with Woo and Terence Chang producing under their Lion Rock Productions banner. Cyrte’s portfolio company, Exclusive Media, will assist the pair.

Cyrte CEO Frank Botman, China Film Group chairman Han Sanping and Woo inked the deal at the Beijing International Film Festival.

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According to Woo – who has worked on Hollywood blockbusters such as Face/Off and Mission Impossible II -- Flying Tigers “is a project that I have always wanted to do because this is a story that expresses the courage, resourcefulness, friendship and spirit of both the Chinese and American people and pilots. It promotes friendship between the two nations.”

Added Botman: “This is Woo’s passion project, and we could not conceive of anyone more perfect to tell the story of the Flying Tigers. Like Saving Private Ryan and Band of Brothers, this heroic story of Chinese and American cooperation and their struggles in WWII needs to be retold to a new generation.”

Han described Flying Tigers as “one of the most important films” for China Film Group in recent years and will “showcase the charm of Chinese-made films in a more diversified and appealing way to the global audience.”