Trinity CineAsia has acquired rights to Chinese tentpole action movie “Born to Fly,” and will release the film in cinemas in the U.K. and Ireland.
Nicknamed China’s response to Hollywood hit “Top Gun,” the Chinese film follows Lei Yu and a group of elite aviators who undergo rigorous training to be recognised as official test pilots. Led by the experienced Commander Zhang, they are tasked with testing the latest fighter jets. As they soar to new heights, the unexpected happens when the engine fails and catches fire, causing the aircraft to spiral out of control. Despite facing multiple near-death situations, they persevere and gather crucial data under extreme circumstances. But the deadline for delivery of the new plane is approaching.
The film is being released in mainland China on 28 April, in time for the May Day holiday that is one of the three most important seasons in the releasing calendar.
Production of the film was supported by the Chinese Air Force and Aviation Industry Corporation. Production companies include Bona Media, Alibaba Film Culture and PMF Pictures and the state-owned giants China Film Group and Huaxia Film. The rights were licensed from Huasha International. WellGo USA will release the film in North America.
“Born to Fy” was previously scheduled to release on China’s National Day in October last year, but the release was postponed at the last moment with no official explanation given. Some online sources accused the film of plagiarizing “Top Gun,” while others criticized it for poor quality special effects. Other commentators suggested that the problem was more to do with avoiding a dog-fight with “Top Gun: Maverick,” so soon after the Paramount title had dominated global screens.
“Maverick” was not released in Chinese theaters. Chinese tech giant Tencent had initially been a major investor, but pulled out before the film was released.
Patriotism is a popular thread running through Chinese-made films and audiences and the planned October release of “Born to Fly” attracted high levels of ticket pre-sales. Appetite for the Chinese film appears to have endured and pre-sales had reached $3 million, accounting for some 75% of advanced bookings in China, earlier this week.
Trinity CineAsia will begin the U.K. rollout with preview screenings on April 28, coinciding with the China release. The main release will begin on May 5.
“Following the success of ‘Wandering Earth,’ the most successful Chinese film at the U.K. box office for years, we are excited to bring ‘Born to Fly’ off to a flying state to U.K. and Irish screens at the same time it is in China, which feels very fitting one year after the phenomenal success of ‘Top Gun: Maverick’,” said Cedric Behrel, Trinity CineAsia’s co-founder and director.
“The film [has] a fantastic all-round cast with a gifted and audacious first-time director, Liu Xiaoshi. We’re delighted to bring the first film starring Wang Yibo to the U.K. and Ireland with Zhou Dongyu top-billing again, in a special appearance).”
Watch a trailer for ‘Born to Fly’ here: