The new installment of the Iron Sky will center on a Chinese story.
The China-Finland-Canada coproduction Iron Sky: The Ark introduced its Chinese filmmakers at the 67th Berlin International Film Festival on Feb 13.
As the latest film of the science fiction franchise Iron Sky, The Ark centers on attempts by two young Chinese audiophiles to decode a mysterious message from the moon, accidentally uncovering a secret to save the human race. Iron Sky's previous two movies revolve around European stories.
Wang Weimin, veteran producer, reveals the Chinese-led sequel, directed by the Finnish filmmaker Timo Vuorensola, who had directed two previous movies of the franchise, is expected to be shot in Beijing this summer. Wang is a scriptwriter and producer of the movie.
Over 2,000 years in Chinese history, a lot of poems and legends have been inspired by the moon, and Wang sees the new film as a "mysterious" connection between China and the planet.
"You can read a lot of clues, from the tales of Chang'e (the moon goddess in Chinese mythology) to literary works of the Tang (618-907) and Song (960-1279) dynasties," he says, explaining such connections.
"If the moon is the next destination for humans to live on, the Chinese have a strong reason to be part of it," he says of the film's plot.
Besides, China's modern achievements in lunar exploration contribute to the tone.
With rich experience in international coproductions, Wang has accumulated recognition from the Oscar-nominated Mongol (2007), a semi-historical epic of Genghis Khan by Russian director Sergei Bodrov. As a producer, Wang's career rose to a new height with Wolf Totem (2015), a Sino-French movie directed by French filmmaker Jean-Jacques Annaud.
China's box office total in 2014 grossed 29 billion yuan (.2 billion), up 33 percent from the previous year. In 2015, the figure touched 44 billion yuan, making many domestic filmmakers believe that China would overtake the United States as the world's largest movie industry soon.
But Wang says he was skeptical about the prosperity, a part of which was reportedly due to fake screenings and scams.
"I've done research on Hollywood history. It clearly shows that the franchises with big action and unique value system are sustainable," he says.
Despite few Chinese science fiction films made before 2014, Wang decided to focus on the genre, which has dominated Hollywood for decades.
He started to pen a moon-themed story in 2014, and surprisingly found Vuorensola's first Iron Sky movie to be coincidentally similar.
After many rounds of discussions in the past three years, Wang's tale, revised many times by Chinese and Western screenwriters, made The Ark the latest movie of the franchise.
Vuorensola told the Berlin festival that he was happy to work with Chinese filmmakers on a "fun and clever" science fiction script.
But only time will tell if a Western formula boasting Chinese heroes will conquer the international market.