Paramount to produce another ‘Monkey King’ film

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Shanghaiist:

Hollywood’s Paramount Pictures is next in line to milk millions out of the never-ending Journey to the West franchise with yet another adaptation of The Monkey King.

The studio is partnering up with Beijing‘s Ruyi Xinxin Film Investment to release a 3D movie based on Wu Chen-en‘s classic novel Journey to the West. Countless adaptations of the literary fantasy exist in China, but this version will be similar to the popular 1980s TV series and will include actors from the series.

Rob Moore, Paramount’s vice chairman, announced the news on Wednesday while in Beijing. Oscar-winning producer Mark Johnson has signed on to produce the film and Zhang Jinlai, who played the Monkey King in the TV version, has been confirmed to take part in the project as well.

I told the American friends that the Monkey King should not have a [romantic]relationship,” the actor was quoted as saying in a Wall Street Journal report. “This film will not twist the original story.”

Hong Kong director Pou Soi Cheang‘s 3D version of The Monkey King raked in 167 million USD in China last year, making it the third-highest grossing film in 2014, and a sequel starring Gong Li is set to hit theaters early next year. Those who need more Journey to the West to tide them over until the next one can look forward to US network AMC’s upcoming martial arts drama “Badlands“, which will be loosely based on the tale and broadcast sometime in late 2015.

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The Biggest Movie In The World Right Now Is About A Mystical Monkey

The Monkey King grossed an estimated $46 million this weekend, and almost all of that money came from China.

The highest-grossing movie in the world this weekend wasn’t released in the United States, or in Europe, or in South America, but in China. The Monkey King opened in the world’s most populous country, as well as six other territories, with an estimated $46 million, according to Variety. If those estimates hold, it will be nearly four times the top-grossing movie at the U.S. box office this weekend, the Kevin Hart-comedy Ride Along, with $12 million.

Following the exploits of a mystical, powerful monkey (Donnie Yen, also the film’s fight choreographer), the 3D film is based on part of the 16th-century Chinese mythological novel Journey to the West. It debuted on the first day of the Chinese New Year, setting a new opening-day record in that country with an estimated $20 million. It also appears to have set a single-day worldwide record for IMAX, with $1.8 million.

The success underlines the rapid growth of the Chinese box office, and why American studios have worked so tirelessly to schedule their films within the country (a process that requires a non-native film either be a Chinese co-production, or released in partnership with a Chinese exhibitor). Last year, Pacific Rim grossed more in China than it did in the U.S., and the top-grossing film in the U.S., Iron Man 3, came in second at the annual box office in China to a separate adaptation of Journey to the West, entitled Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons.

According to the Facebook page for The Monkey King, the film will be released in the U.S. this summer.