Reel China: Will it play in Peoria and Shanghai?
Moviegoers in China enthusiastically see American films, yet the reverse is almost never true. But you’d think if there would be someone who might bridge the divide — someone whose personal background, connections and professional expertise could help bring Chinese films more into the U.S. mainstream — that person might look much like Wendi Murdoch.
Born and raised in mainland China, educated at Cal State Northridge and then at Yale, employed at Star TV in Hong Kong, she married News Corp. titan Rupert Murdoch in 1999. Now, she’s teamed up with another prominent media mogul’s wife, Florence Sloan (who is Malaysian Chinese and married to former MGM Chairman and Chief Executive Harry Sloan), and is taking her first shot at cracking the code.
The two women joined forces to turn American author Lisa See’s book-group blockbuster “Snow Flower and the Secret Fan” into a feature film with Mandarin and English dialogue and a multinational cast that Murdoch and Sloan believe can appeal to a substantial audience in both countries.
Already in theaters in China, where it grossed nearly $5 million in its first 10 days of release, according to China-based research group EntGroup, “Snow Flower” will premiere stateside Friday in limited release from News Corp.’s Fox Searchlight division.