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China is becoming a larger and larger part of the global movie scene, and now the nation has nabbed Arnold Schwarzenegger to star in a new film that is setting up to be a massive blockbuster.The new film is called The Guest of Sanxingdui and is set to be a 3D production with a budget of $200 million. It also appears to be part of a larger deal to draw attention to the ruins of Sanxingdui, as the actor will be playing the part of ambassador to promote the site overseas.
The deal, which was announced by film investment company Beijing Ajimo, and reported by CRI, will have Arnold Schwarzenegger both producing and starring in the film which will begin production in March with an eye on a 2019 release. While the production will be Chinese, it's being promoted as an "international story." One would assume that the idea is to attract the west to the movie so that it can act as an introduction to Sanxingdui, a set of Chinese ruins that is believed to have belonged to the Shu kingdom which vanished 3,000 years ago. The ruins will feature prominently in the film, though no plot synopsis was released so exactly what the story will be, or how the ruins will fit in is not clear.
This isn't the first major Chinese production that's going to star a western celebrity and focus on a Chinese historical location. Matt Damon's next film, The Great Wall will put him on the iconic Chinese structure fighting off monsters. _The Guest of Sanxingdui _ appears to be using the same idea, to bring in an American movie star in order to successfully market the Chinese film and the place where it is set.
The choice of Arnold Schwarzenegger as both star and promotional ambassador for Sanxingdui isn't an accident either. Arnold's last film, Terminator: Genisys received a lukewarm reception in North America but the film absolutely exploded in China. It's clear that overseas Arnold is still as big a movie star as he ever was. While China wants this new project to be successfully globally, it certainly needs to be a hit in the homeland as well, and using Schwarzenegger is a good way to help ensure that.
Since the film clearly has two separate objectives, it will be interesting to see how much of this project is meant to be a movie and how much it is meant to be a commercial to promote Sanxingdui. With a budget of $200 million it makes for a fairly expensive advertisement, but if more people travel to China to see the place the movie was filmed, it will certainly be money well spent.
As China becomes a larger and larger power at the global box office we can expect to see more films with a focus on the nation and the culture. What do you think of more films taking place in and about China? Let us know in the comments.