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Hollywood producers have been eyeballing China as a territory to explore for a while. Lately, lip service has turned into action, with projects like Iron Man 3 choosing to shoot scenes in Beijing to strengthen partnerships with Chinese filmmakers and producing teams. Now Marvel and Sony guru Avi Arad is taking potential partnerships one step further with a series of superhero projects that are inspired by Chinese history and mythology.
Arad, of course, has movies like Spider-Man, The X-Men and The Incredible Hulk on his resume. Now Variety reports that Arad will forge a partnership with Bruno Wu’s Seven Stars Entertainment to develop multiple properties with ties to Chinese lore. They will put multiple “fingers” in various “pies,” spanning live-action tentpole pictures, animated television shows and more. They hope to trigger merchandising opportunities, mobile applications and opther interactive avenues to expand the reach and audience in China and around the globe.
The trade says that Rise of the Terracotta Warriors will be the first project in the pipeline. It will be based on an original story by Arad that centers on China’s Terracotta Army, which -- according to myth – protected China’s first emperor in the afterlife after he has died. “Bruno and I share an affinity for Chinese history and culture, and his knowledge will help guide me through this fascinating world of Chinese mythology,” Arad said.
It makes complete sense. The population of China is beyond enormous, so tapping into a form of entertainment that would appeal to their national and civic pride makes financial sense. Does it make creative sense? We’ll have to wait and see how compelling these original projects end up being, but it’s interesting to see how Arad is planning on expanding his storytelling brand.