The Monkey King (film)
|The Monkey King|
Theatrical release poster
|Mandarin||Dà Nào Tiān Gōng|
|Cantonese||Daai6 Naau6 Tin1 Gung1|
|Directed by||Cheang Pou-soi|
|Produced by||Kiefer Liu
|Screenplay by||Szeto Kam-Yuen
|Story by||Wu Cheng'en|
|Music by||Christopher Young|
Daniel L. Symmes
|Distributed by||Filmko Entertainment (Hong Kong; International)
Newport Entertainment (Hong Kong)
Beijing Anshi Naying Culture Co. (China)
China Film Group (China)
Wanda Media (China)
Global Star Productions
|Budget||500 million yuan (82 million USD)|
The Monkey King is a 2014 Hong Kong-Chinese fantasy film directed by Cheang Pou-soi and starring Donnie Yen as the titular protagonist. Yen also serves as the film's action director. Production began in Beijing on 18 October 2010 and was filmed in 3D. The plot is based on an episode of Journey to the West, a Chinese literary classic written in the Ming Dynasty by Wu Cheng'en. It was released on 31 January 2014.
- Donnie Yen as Sun Wukong, the Monkey King
- Chow Yun-fat as the Jade Emperor
- Aaron Kwok as Bull Demon King
- Joe Chen as Princess Iron Fan
- Peter Ho as Erlang Shen
- Kelly Chen as Guan Yin
- Zhang Zilin as Nüwa
- Gigi Leung as Chang'e
- Xia Zitong as the Nine-tailed Vixen
- Louis Fan as Juling Shen
- Eddie Cheung as Li Jing, the Pagoda-wielding Heavenly King
- Calvin Cheng as Nezha
- Him Law as Muzha
- Liu Hua as the Dragon King of the East Sea
- Li Ching as the Green-haired Monkey King
- Irene Wang as Fairy Caiyun
- Hai Yitian as Subhuti
- Cathy Leung as Fairy Caixia
- Monica Mok
- Liu Ye
- Wang Xizhi
When the film was first announced, both Jet Li and Donnie Yen were eyed for a role. On 18 May 2010, Yen was confirmed to be playing the title role of the Monkey King. Later, it was announced Chow Yun-fat and Aaron Kwok will be playing the Jade Emperor and Bull Demon King respectively. Kwok's role is said to be breaking traditions for being handsome, stylish and fighting for love. The film was originally budgeted at 300 million yuan but later was raised to 400 million yuan. Production companies include Filmko, Mandarin Films, China Film Group, Shenzhen Golden Shores Films, Zhejiang HG Entertainment, Dongguan Boning Entreprise and Investment, Beijing Wen Hua Dong Run Investment Co., Ltd., China Film Co-Production Corporation, and Global Star Productions, Inc. Michael Wehrhahn, President of Global Star Production, Inc, has joined forces with former Imagine Films President / Universal Television Icon Robert Harris in producing and releasing high end features for the U.S. and Asian markets.
Additional cast members were later announced including Cecilia Cheung, Gigi Leung, Kelly Chen, Peter Ho, Joe Chen and Liu Ye. On 17 May 2011, Zhang Zilin, winner of Miss World 2007, confirmed that she joined the film, playing the role of Nüwa, replacing Cecilia Cheung, who was originally announced in the role. However, Zhang claimed that she never heard that Cheung was to be in the film.
For the 3-D shoot, Filmko recruited Hollywood talents. The crew includes David Ebner (Alice in Wonderland, Spider-Man 3), who will serve as visual effects supervisor for the film and Shaun Smith (The Forbidden Kingdom, 300, I Am Legend) who will be the special make-up supervisor.
The original poster released had a release date of February 2012, but it was postponed. Later it was announced that it would be released on 7 July 2012, on 4 July 2013, and finally on 30 January 2014 in Hong Kong and 31 January in China. It will be released in the United States in 2015.
The Monkey King received generally negative reviews from critics. James Marsh of Twitch Film gave the film a negative review referring it as a "Hot Mess From The Heavens" and criticizing poor CGI effects and weak script, however, praising lead actor Donnie Yen's performance as Sun Wukong, but ultimately writing Wukong "a somewhat irritating character who can be difficult to sympathise with." Maggie Lee of Variety Film Reviews calls it "a simplistic, action-driven narrative with inexhaustible energy, but little style or substance." Clarence Tsui of The Hollywood Reporter writes "The Monkey King is filled to the brim with gravity-defying saints and sprites zipping across the screen in a litany of kinetic 3-D action sequences. But the stellar imagery hardly makes up for the film's underwritten narrative, half-baked characterizations and emotional gimmicks."
Despite relatively poor reviews, The Monkey King was a major box office hit. The film had the highest-grossing opening day in China with RMB121 million (US$20.0 million), surpassing Iron Man 3. In addition, it also broke three more records in China including the highest single day box office, the first Chinese film to break RMB100 million on its first day and the fastest Chinese film to reach RMB100 million. During its opening, it was the highest grossing film at the global box office grossing RMB216 million (US$35.4 million). It grossed RMB389.97 million (US$64.35 million) in the first four days. With this, the film also set the record as the fastest film to reach RMB300 million in China box office. In China, The Monkey King grossed a total of RMB1,028,688,003 (US$$167,840,000) and becoming only the third Chinese film to earn more than a billion yuan at the Chinese box office. The film grossed a total of US$181,900,000 internationally.
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