Ming Pao :
Directed by Wong Kar-wai and starring Tony Leung, the film “The Grandmasters” has been in the works for the past 13 years. Lead actress Zhang Ziyi had expressed her concerns on whether the film will ever be finished. However, the production company finally announced that the film is slated to be released on December 18 during the holiday period. After learning of the news, Zhang Ziyi expressed her relief that the film will finally wrap up and will no longer be ‘missing in action’.
With a star studded ensemble including Tony Leung, Zhang Ziyi, Korean actress Song Hye-kyo, Zhao Benshan, Chang Chen and Xiao Shenyang, “The Grandmasters” has garnered international attention. Wong Kar-wai started working on the script back in 1997. In 2002 it was confirmed that Tony Leung will take on the lead role. However the production was at a standstill for many years. It wasn’t until November of 2009 that filming began in Mainland China. As Tony had broken his arm in July of that year, he had to wait for his injury to heal before joining the production. “The Grandmasters” has been filming for the past two years and it is still incomplete. During the interim, Donnie Yen has led two successful installments of the film Ip Man in 2008 and 2010. He also has intentions to film a third movie. Donnie has expressed that he has been waiting a long time to see the completion of “The Grandmasters”.
After the production company announced the December 18 release of the film, they also uploaded a new photo showing Tony in his role of Yip Man alongside his disciples. In the photo he is wearing a black changshan while being surrounded by his disciples. The sign above the photo addresses that Yip Man has already begun his next chapter in life and has opened up his own school in Hong Kong. Last year a clip of the movie was released showing Yip Man fighting in the rain. This time the photo shows a more restrained side of him. Zhang Ziyi expressed her joy in seeing the film nearing completion. Many others in the industry also expressed their anticipation in seeing the finished product.
As part of the promotions for the film, its official Weibo (Asian Twitter) released a contest to win one of 1218 special design collector’s edition “Grandmasters Invitations”. This attracted great response from netizens. From the invitation photos, the design was very elegant. The envelope had the words “Grandmasters Invitation” and stamps from the Republic era on the front and on the back was The Grandmasters limited edition commemorative stamp with postmarks from Kowloon Hong Kong, Foshan Guangdong, Peking, Fengtian and other locations. The “Grandmasters Invitation” notified everyone that the film will open on December 18 2012.
Many theaters in Mainland China are confident in the box office sales and hope it will break records. Beijing New Film Association president Liu Hongpeng expressed that he has high hopes for the film. Others have expressed that if there’s good buzz surrounding the movie, the box office numbers will not be a concern.
As the film will be released during the holiday period, it will have stiff competition at the box office. Jackie Chan’s “Chinese Zodaic”, is slated for release on December 20. As the writer, director and star of the film, he will be leading his cast including Korean actor Kwon Sang Woo and actor Liu Fan to compete alongside “The Grandmasters”.
Yuen Woo-Ping and Song Hye-Kyo