China selected The Flowers of War as its official submission for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar this year. It’s a sensible move. Director Zhang Yimou is a known quantity here in the States—his 2002 film Hero is #3 on the highest-grossing foreign language movies at the domestic box office. Also, it stars Christian Bale, who is arguably even more of a known quantity around these parts after starring in those Batman movies, and winning an Oscar at last year’s ceremony for The Fighter.
That last point is especially noteworthy as Wrekin Hill announces their U.S. release plan for The Flowers of War. The studio will unveil the period epic here sometime in late December after its worldwide premiere in China on December 16. Wrekin Hill doesn’t have the precise date nailed down, but for a prestige film like The Flowers of War, late December is code for “We think this has a chance to win a few awards.” For more on the film, read the press release after the jump.
ZHANG YIMOU’S THE FLOWERS OF WAR – CHINA’S OSCAR ENTRY – GOES TO WREKIN HILL IN ASSOCIATION WITH ROW 1 PRODUCTIONS
Epic Starring Christian Bale Will Open In Late December 2011 Following Its Wide Release on Dec. 16 in China
Los Angeles, CA (November 7, 2011) — Chris Ball, President and CEO of LA-based film production and distribution company Wrekin Hill Entertainment, announced today that his company, in association with Row 1 Productions, have acquired the North American distribution rights to award-winning Chinese director Zhang Yimou’s (Raise the Red Lantern, Hero) and producer Zhang Weiping’s THE FLOWERS OF WAR starring Academy Award® winning actor Christian Bale (The Fighter, The Dark Knight). The film has been selected as this year’s official foreign language entry for China at the Academy Awards. Wrekin Hill, in association with Row 1, will open the film in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco in late December 2011 and the film will then expand through early 2012.
THE FLOWERS OF WAR will have a wide release in China on December 16th following three premiere events in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.
Chris Ball, President and CEO of Wrekin Hill said, “FLOWERS OF WAR just blew me away. Not only is it incredibly powerful but the artistry is absolutely sensational. We are really excited to be bringing this wonderful film to North American audiences. It follows in the tradition of some of the classic films we have had the privilege of releasing over the past decade. I am also thrilled that Row 1 shares our passion for the film.”
Producer Zhang Weiping said: “We were very impressed by the passion that Wrekin Hill and Row 1 showed for the film. Their aggressive release strategy coupled with their desire to focus on an effective awards campaign for THE FLOWERS OF WAR immediately captured our attention. We are thrilled to be in their very capable hands and in bringing this powerful and emotionally engaging film to North American audiences.”
Based on a screenplay by Heng Liu (The Story of Qiu Ju), THE FLOWERS OF WAR is adapted from Geling Yan’s historical novel 13 Flowers of Nanjing. The film is a work of historical fiction set against the backdrop of the Rape of Nanking, a brutal chapter in the Sino-Japanese War, which was a significant event in Chinese history. Produced and fully financed by Zhang Weiping under his New Pictures Film banner, THE FLOWERS OF WAR is inspired by true life events, and tells a genuine story of hope, love and sacrifice.
Set in 1937, Nanking stands at the forefront of a war between China and Japan. As the invading Japanese Imperial Army overruns China’s capital city, desperate civilians seek refuge behind the nominally protective walls of a western cathedral. Here, John Miller (Bale), an American trapped amidst the chaos of battle, and the ensuing occupation, takes shelter, joined by a group of innocent schoolgirls and thirteen courtesans, equally determined to escape the horrors taking place outside the church walls.
THE FLOWERS OF WAR is executive produced by David Linde, Chaoying Deng, and Bill Kong. International sales are handled by FilmNation Entertainment. The deal was negotiated by executive producers Linde and Deng along with attorney Stephen Saltzman of Loeb & Loeb on behalf of the filmmaker, Zhang Weiping, by Chris Ball and Rene Cogan on behalf of Wrekin Hill and Brandt Andersen on behalf of Row 1.