Pixomondo Aims for Chinese Success With 'Gone With the Bullets'

Thilo Kuther's production house will take over the special effects work of Jiang Wen's Shanghai-set film.

BEIJING – Call it an irony.

Visual effects studio Pixomondo has just announced it will be working to create 1920s Shanghai for Jiang Wen’s feature film Gone With the Bullets, less than a month after it shut its office in – where else? – Shanghai.

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Pixomondo CEO Thilo Kuther unveiled the collaboration during the Beijing Film Market’s Summit Forum on Film and Technology on Monday, when he described the project as being the first time his company – which helped Martin Scorsese re-create 1920 Paris in Hugo – was bestowed full responsibility over VFX of a mainland Chinese blockbuster.

Preproduction of the effects will be completed in June, he said, around the time when principal photography will begin. The film will be Jiang’s follow-up to his 2010 hit Let the Bullets Fly, a dark social satire about corruption in 1930s China that took $109.4 million (676.6 million yuan) at the box office – a record that stood for more than a year before being overtaken by Painted Skin: Resurrection ($117.4 million/726.4 million yuan) in July.

Speaking earlier this month, Kuther said Pixomondo has laid off its staff in Shanghai and has relocated some of them in their Beijing office, a move that followed similar closure of its Detroit and London branches.

He also said the company will move away from Hollywood projects, its latest being Oblivion; with his venture with Jiang, his remark has taken up a new meaning.