Bruce Willis’ first Chinese-language movie to be released in the U.S. by Lionsgate’s Grindstone

From Matt Damon to Bruce Willis, like many below-the-line workers in film industry, Hollywood stars are also running away. Already well-known for his ‘Die Hard’ movie franchise among Chinese audiences, Bruce Willis may have found a closer link with this valuable market.

Image/ ‘Air Strike’

The war epic is based on the notorious attacks on Chongqing during WWII by Japanese air force, which lasted from 1938 to 1944 and caused massive death of Chinese civilians. This historical event is as traumatic as ‘Nanking Massacre’ but still less known even to many Chinese people. According to the director Xiao Feng, history behind the movie should be remembered, and the sacrifices that Chinese people have made for the victory of the anti-Fascist war needs to be realized by the world.

Joined by Liu Ye, Song Seung-Heon (South Korea), William Chan and many other A-list actors/actresses, Bruce Willis plays an American officer from the U.S. Army Air Forces (USAAF) named Jack Johnson. As a volunteer fighter, Jack fights with a troop of young Chinese pilots who determine to protect their homeland whatever the cost.

An ambitious Chinese film industry is increasingly expanding just as China desires to export soft power. For many Chinese blockbusters, integrating Hollywood stars and production teams into a Chinese story is a strategy to attract international audiences and to earn recognition abroad, though the commercial performances of these movies are still unpredictable.

‘Air Strike’ also employs Mel Gibson as art director, whose latest movie ‘Hacksaw Ridge’ hit the Chinese market by the end of 2016. In a behind-the-scene video released recently, Mel Gibson calls the movie ‘sort of epic’.

Lionsgate Grindstone Entertainment Group will handle the movie’s distribution in North America, and Blue Box International owns the worldwide sales rights to the movie.

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