The Chinese CG-animated feature Monkey King: Hero is Back, which holds the current record for the highest-grossing domestic animation in China, is being distributed in the United States through a partnership between AT&T’s DirecTV and Viva Pictures.
The English version stars Jackie Chan in the lead role of the Monkey King (Chan also plays the monkey in Dreamworks’ Kung Fu Panda franchise). James Hong (Mr. Ping in Kung Fu Panda) also provides a voice in the English dub. Here is the trailer:
The English version of Monkey King is currently available to rent on DirecTV. A theatrical release of the PG-rated film, in both 2D and digital 3D, is scheduled for July 29, but it is not easy to find information about where the film will be screened. Considering that Monkey King is Viva’s most high-profile animation pick-up to date—other titles in their library include clunkers like Caroline and the Magic Potion, The Aviators, and Foodfight!—they’ve done little to spread word about it.
Directed by Tian Xiao Peng, Monkey King grossed US$153 million during its release last summer in China. The film was made on a budget of $16 million.
The breakout success of the film has energized China’s feature animation industry and led to a frenzy of studios and producers jumping into animation production. Englight Media, which released last weekend’s major hit, Big Fish & Begonia, has already enlisted Tian Xiao Peng to direct two new features: Monkey King: Havoc in Heaven and Deep Sea.