News out of MTime brings word that actor Andy Lau will return for an upcoming threequel installment of The White Storm franchise to go before cameras this symmer. The site reported on the announcement following a statement a few days ago to the presses by the head HK-based Universe Films.
Benny Chan’s inaugural 2013 crime actioner, The White Storm, set the tone for the franchise in brutal, action-packed fashion with Sean Lau, Louis Koo and Nick Cheung as undercover narcs on the hunt for drug kingpin from Hong to Thailand. Herman Yau followed up last year with The White Storm 2: Drug Lords, that saw Lau joining the franchise along with the return of Koo for an original story with new characters, and even higher-octane action and drama.
There’s no word yet on who will return or join the franchise just yet between cast and crew, with the project being the latest in a series of reports covering the Covid-19 outbreak that has swept the globe. China was ultimately devastated by the outbreak beginning late last year which ultimately led to the cancellations of highly-anticipated Chinese new year releases, as well as active film productions throughout the region.
As recently as about a week ago as of this report, hundreds of China movie theater outlets attempted to reopen their branches, only to close them several days ago. Rebecca Davis reported over the weekend via Variety:
Around 500 theaters across China had attempted to re-open in the last week, but seen little financial benefit from doing so, with screenings averaging less than a person a day and a national daily box office intake in the low thousands of dollars.
They had only re-opened their doors after receiving direct authorization from their local government bodies, who verified that they were following mandated health procedures.
But now, China’s national film bureau has ordered them all shut again, without saying exactly why or when they might hope to re-open.
Films like The Wandering Earth, Green Book, A Dog’s Journey, and Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone were among some of the chosen re-releases implemented to help generate some box-office earnings.
Despite the grim news, Universe’s plans for The White Storm 3 come well-equipped with some optimism. According to a February study by the Maoyan Research Institute, more than half of moviegoers in China expressed eagerness to go to the cinema when the virus outbreak ends than prior to the outbreak, with 11% of respondents favoring the action genre, ranking third below sci-fi at 12%, and comedy at 26%.
Depending on the outlook for the remainder of 2020, Lau’s upcoming film appearances may also include Yau’s latest thriller, Shock Wave 2, which currently expects a July release. As ot last year’s 22nd Shanghai International Film Festival, Lau is also reportedly joining director Liu Yiwei’s A Robbery In Moscow, announced at the festival as part of an 11-title slate by Cultural Investment Holdings.