Fox Searchlight, Harvey Weinstein, Summit, Roadside Attractions and others huddled outside the Varsity Cinemas afterwards to strategize; FilmNation's Glen Basner was accepting North American bids for the $90-million period epic that afternoon. It's the most expensive movie ever funded by China, beating John Woo's $80 million Red Cliff. The film opens December 16 across Asia, where it's expected to be a hit. Producers Zhang Weiping, David Linde and Basner hope to find a distributor willing to Oscar-qualify the film this year--which may or may not be possible. They are worried about piracy on this one. Several years back Searchlight picked up The Wrestler out of Toronto and released it by year's end: it can be done, but the distrib has to be positioned to handle it. Harvey Weinstein was chatting up Linde at the end of the screening; it would be tough to imagine TWC adding more Oscar contenders to its slate, for example.
Christian Bale looks strong in this, as do two key Chinese actresses, one playing Bale's love prostitute interest, the other a young girl. The film is approximately 40% in English and 60% in Mandarin