'Storm Rider' animated pic complete

SMG, Puzzle say $10 mil film will bow in China in July

SHANGHAI -- The first animated film version of the best-selling Chinese comic book franchise "Storm Rider" has been completed after five years in production and will be released in July in China, producers said Friday.

The Shanghai Media Group and Shenzhen-based Puzzle Animation said at the 11th annual Shanghai International Film Festival that the $10 million "Storm Rider" will open July 19 on 200 screens in China.

Producers said they were in negotiations with distributors. "We don't want to sell Chinese animation too cheap," Puzzle CEO Qian Guodong said.

Ma Rongchen, author of the original "Storm Rider," said that his comic book has sold 60 million copies in Hong Kong, and 20 million each in China and Taiwan. It also was made into a successful live-action film in 1997, with a sequel currently in production.