It’s no secret that Hollywood studios have spent the last few years courting Chinese moviegoers or that some American films and franchises find larger audiences abroad than at home. But today, Lionsgate announced that it’s more or less cutting through the bullshit: the sixth big screen dance-off in the Step Up series is going to be a Chinese-language production made in China.
According to a report by Deadline, the Beijing-set film will be directed by Ron Yuan, a veteran Chinese-American stuntman and stunt choreographer whose long resume includes The Art Of War, Black Dynamite, and Wild Card. Yuan is also a prolific video game voice actor, and has had his share of recurring TV series roles; he played the Triad gangster Ryu Tom on Sons Of Anarchy and, more recently, the Mongol prince Nayan on Netflix’s Marco Polo.
The new film, whose title has been variously given as Step Up China or simply Step Up 6, will be a co-production between Lionsgate, Infinity Pictures, and Yue Hua Entertainment Culture Communications. The last movie in the series, the very enjoyable Step Up All In, was the lowest grossing of the series, making only $14 million domestically, but was still a success in Asia. In that sense, the choice to simply move the franchise closer to the money makes sense—although we almost wish it had instead been exported to France, where Step Up Revolution is called Sexy Dance: Miami Heat.