The Wanda Pictures film, starring Wang Baoqiang, is the third part of an action-comedy franchise that has earned $669 million. It will get the biggest U.S. release of any Chinese-language film of recent memory.
Warner Bros. is bringing some Chinese New Year blockbuster fare to North America in a big way.
The studio has acquired North American theatrical rights to Wanda Pictures’ upcoming tentpole Detective Chinatown 3. The action-comedy-mystery sequel will open in more than 150 theaters and limited Imax engagements in major cities across the U.S. and Canada on Jan. 24, day-and-date with the movie’s Chinese New Year launch in China. The studio says the release will be the widest of any Mandarin-language film in North America in recent memory.
One of China’s most successful franchises, the series began in 2015 set in the Chinatown of Bangkok, Thailand. It struck gold with a quirky mix of the action comedy and mystery thriller genres, earning $125 million and making its two leads, Wang Baoqiang and Liu Haoran, into overnight marquee stars. Detective Chinatown 2 moved the action to New York City’s Chinatown and enhanced its production values — it earned a whopping $544 million during the 2018 Chinese New Year period.
Both films were written and directed by Chen Sicheng, who has returned for the third installment. This time, Wang and Liu, playing Chinese detectives Tang Ren and Qin Feng, respectively, move their buddy misadventures to Tokyo, Japan, where they join Japanese investigator Noda Hiroshi (Satoshi Tsumabuki) on a high-profile case involving the murder of a powerful businessman. The film also features Thai martial arts superstar Tony Jaa (Furious 7, the Ong Bak movies) and Japanese actor Tadanobu Asano (Thor: Ragnarok, Martin Scorsese’s Silence).
In North America, the film will carry an R rating due to some scenes of bloody violence.
In China, Detective Chinatown 3 will face off against a slew of fellow Chinese tentpoles looking to cash in on the lucrative Chinese New Year release window, the world’s biggest moviegoing week by box office earnings. Other projects set to launch over the holiday include Peter Chan’s tennis biopic Leap, Xu Zheng’s comedy sequel Lost in Russia and Dante Lam’s military action flick, The Rescue.