As Captain America: Civil War opens to a huge box office in China this week, it has been announced that the Russo brothers, behind Captain America, will collaborate with Chinese partners to produce three films focussed on the story of ‘Captain China’.
This week, the massive potential of the Chinese film industry was further evidences by Captain America: Civil War‘s 30.6 million USD opening day. Despite recent pushback from some quarters in Chinese society against a perceived American cultural hegemony, the Captain America franchise has proven to be hugely popular with Chinese audiences, as movie-going becomes a more entrenched part of city living.
In this context, the Joe and Anthony Russo, the creative duo behind Marvel’s blockbuster Captain America franchise have signed with a Chinese production company to create a new Chinese superhero movie which netizens have started to dub “Captain China” – based on a comic strip of that name in circulation.
Chinese production firm Fangjin Media (Beijing) has signed a deal with the Russo brothers and their team to make an action sci-fi trilogy featuring an original Chinese superhero. The first film, about the origins of the Chinese hero – The Hero’s Awakening – will go into production at the end of 2016, hitting theaters in early 2018.
According to Fangjin Media spokesperson Su Zhenping; “In the upcoming Chinese superhero films, the hero will not actually be named ‘Captain China’ … but will be similar to Captain America.”
Hmm … this is an interesting one, in a circumscribed media environment can a international team come up with a ‘Captain China’ character that will appease the government, but engage the audience. We wait with baited breath, but here are some ‘must haves’ from a brand perspective.
One of the key considerations is what tension is ‘Captain China’ born of. Captain America was born of the Second World War, it seems that ‘Captain China’ will also have to spring forth from an ‘enemy everyone can agree on’ – and that is the Japanese imperialists, that all sides in China ‘united’ to defeat. That is just the first delicate issue to be decided, amidst a substantive list.