Stephen Chow and Tsui Hark in Talks to Collaborate on 'Journey to the West' Sequel for Alibaba Pictures

Huayi Brothers Media
'Journey to the West'

Bringing the two giants of Hong Kong filmmaking together is a key part of an effort to drive Alibaba Pictures' ambitions in 2015.

Top Hong Kong filmmakers Stephen Chow and Tsui Hark are in talks to collaborate on a sequel to the $215 million Chinese movie Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons, part of a major assault on the film business by Alibaba Pictures, the film unit of e-commerce giant Alibaba.

Sources close to the discussions confirmed that the two director-producers were talking, but told THR that "nothing has been written in stone."

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According to local media in Hong Kong, Alibaba wants to really crank up its film unit this year, after a disappointing first-half performance.

Alibaba is also reportedly investing in Chow's science fiction project called The Mermaid, while earlier this month Alibaba said Hong Kong art house legend Wong Kar-wai will produce Alibaba Pictures' debut movie.

It would be an interesting collaboration — both directors have wildly divergent styles but are giants in the Chinese-language industry.

Alibaba Pictures was boosted last week by news that Chinese actor-director Vicki Zhao and her husband bought a $400 million stake in the company.

Read more Chinese Star Vicki Zhao Buys Stake in Alibaba Pictures

Tsui and Chow are discussing starting the shoot in August with the hope of completing the film in time for the Lunar New Year in 2017. The budget is seen at around $64 million.

Tsui, currently riding high after his movie The Taking of Tiger Mountain earned a massive $223 million at the box office, would direct the movie, while Chow would executive produce the film, local media said.

They hope to keep the original stars, including Shu Qi and Wen Zhang and Huang Bo, while bringing in some mainland stars and were also looking at getting James Cameron's 3D crew to produce the special effects.

Alibaba bought a 60 percent stake in Alibaba Pictures, then known as ChinaVision, for $780 million in March of last year, ahead of Alibaba's mammoth IPO, which helped raise money for the group's efforts to boost its media business.