A Chinese government-backed movie studio announced plans Monday for a new partnership with comic legend Stan Lee to produce a Chinese superhero who can compete with Spider-man and The Avengers.
Lee, the comic book writer behind the Fantastic Four, the Hulk, Spider-Man, Thor, Iron Man, and the X-Men, wants to create a superhero who appeals to Chinese audiences, he said in a video announcement during the Shanghai Film Festival. The Chinese market remains largely untapped for Hollywood, and many superhero movies, including The Avengers, have only received luke warm receptions. With this trend in mind, Lee and state-run National Film Capital are teaming up to produce The Annihilator, China’s own superhero. “This is the perfect Chinese hero,” Lee said Monday, according to the Los Angeles Times. “China is a nation that is involved with movies and the industry is growing so it’s as though all the pieces are coming together beautifully.”
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Although few details have been released, the studio and Lee confirmed that The Annihilator will be a “typical superhero story” that tells the tale of a young Chinese man who, after fleeing his hometown and spending time in the United States, returns to fight injustice with the aid of a disguise and powers. The LA Times cites one official description that the lead will be “a young Chinese man given a second chance as an international superhero, who returns home to mete out justice.”
Real Steel screenwriter Dan Gilroy has been tapped to develop the screenplay while Lee’s POW! Entertainment company is charged with the creative concept for the new hero. The studio says the budget for the film will run between $100 million and $150 million. The tale will told primarily in English, they said, and will feature 3-D effects.
The Lee-NFC partnership comes as the studio is moving to produce more international films, potentially in partnership with Hollywood houses. At the Shanghai Arts Festival on Monday, NFC announced that it plans to invest $300 million in 10 upcoming English-language films. “The Chinese film industry needs Hollywood expertise and Hollywood needs the Chinese market,” Liu Yuan, co-chairman and president of National Film Capital’s American unit, said in an email statement. “We are the perfect one-stop China turn-key partner for Hollywood.”
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