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.The regionalappeal of some Korean pop idols in TV dramas is often an importantconsideration in co-production projects.Asian film co-productions nowadays usually aim for the global mar-ket.This change was closely or even directly related to the internationalsuccess of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2001) a martial arts filmdirected by Taiwanese director Ang Lee and partly financed and distrib-uted by Colombia Pictures.Apparently, film producers in East Asia havebeen keenly aware of the film s success:The classical Chinese martial arts is a global theme that is able toattract a worldwide audience.Chinese (Taiwanese) director Ang Lee sCrouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon had 10 Oscar nominations in 2001,and ultimately won four awards, including the best foreign-languagefilm.Afterwards, Chinese martial arts films with magnificent scenesand gorgeous colors became highly popular in Hollywood.13 Ti Wei 197The martial arts blockbuster film, which combines the strength ofwell-known and skillful Chinese film directors and foreign capital,is currently the most appealing Asian product in the United Statesand Europe.14For many East Asian filmmakers, the global, particularly the Western,film market is full of temptations but the risks can also be formidable.Hollywood still dominates and seems invincible.15 Decision-makingover whether and how to enter the market is therefore a tough chal-lenge in the age of globalization.However, Crouching Tiger, HiddenDragon brought two very clear and valuable messages.Firstly, for EastAsian film industries that success in the global market (or at least Europeand the US) is an achievable goal.Secondly, magnificent and ornateChinese martial arts movies could be the product with the highestsuccess rate.Case studies: Seven Swords, The Promise, and A Battle ofWitsIn the context as discussed above, the practice of transnational co-production in East Asian cinema seems to have reached a new levelsince 2005.Several blockbusters, including those mentioned in thebeginning of the article, are the products of a much larger scale of pro-duction and marketing.They all claimed to be  Asian productions inone way or another.In the following section, three co-production films,namely Seven Swords, The Promise (see Figure 9.1), and A Battle of Wits,are selected as case studies.My analysis is organized into three parts: theoperational pattern and market performance of the co-production films,the characteristics of the film texts, and an overall assessment.The pattern of co-production and market performanceThese films have no doubt raised the operational and commercialbenchmarks to an unprecedentedly high level in the history of EastAsian film co-production (see Table 9.1).First of all, the budgets for thethree films all surpass Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, whose produc-tion cost was 15 million USD.The production cost of The Promise was40 million USD, the highest among the three films, while the costs ofSeven Swords and A Battle of Wits were 18 million and 16 million USDrespectively.Such financial strength exceeded that of other  domesticblockbuster films during the same time period.16 For example, the larg-est production in South Korea in recent years, the war movie Tae Guk 198 In the Name of  AsiaFigure 9.1 The PromiseGi: The Brotherhood of War, had a production budget of about 12.8 mil-lion USD, while Zhang Yimou s Chinese martial arts blockbuster Houseof Flying Daggers (2004) cost about 11.3 million USD.17Secondly, all three films copied Hollywood s  high concept market-ing strategies, that is, huge spending on advertising and publicity andthe utilization of the marketing synergy of spin-off products and activi-ties.For example, Seven Swords teamed up with corporations in HongKong, Japan, and South Korea to launch comic books and online gamesthat tied in with the film s theatrical release.The Promise probably madethe most effort in international marketing.The film was showcased atthe 2005 Cannes Film Festival, where a grand media conference andbanquet were held and an 11-minute trailer of the film was shown ina castle on the beach.More than 10 million RMB was spent on thisinternational publicity campaign.It should be noted that the terms  Asia and  Asian film are strategi-cally used in the publicity texts of the three films.For instance, it wasstressed that the combination of the crew and cast of The Promise is Asia s strongest team, and the slogan  Asian film with no time differ-ences was used in the promotional campaign to draw attention to the Table 9 [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]