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Roland Emmerich Directing ‘Midway’ Battle Movie With China’s Bona on Board

Variety logo Variety 5/24/2017 Dave McNary
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Roland Emmerich will direct World War II battle movie “Midway” with China’s Bona Film Group leading the investment for The Mark Gordon Co.

The project was unveiled Tuesday at the Cannes Film Festival. Bona will distribute the film in China and retains worldwide distribution rights, excluding the U.S. CAA brokered the deal and will represent U.S. distribution rights.

The Battle of Midway in the South Pacific was a decisive naval battle in June, 1942, six months after Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor. The U.S. Navy defeated an attacking fleet of the Imperial Japanese Navy near Midway Atoll after U.S. codebreakers were able to pinpoint the time and place of the attack. The damage to the Japanese fleet was so extensive that it never recovered and military historians regard the battle as a turning point in the war.

Wes Tooke wrote the script for the project, which Bona’s Yu Dong will produce with Emmerich, Mark Gordon, Matt Jackson, and Harald Kloser. The story will follows the U.S. soldiers and aviators in the battle.

Mark Gordon Co. and Emmerich partnered on “2012” and “The Day After Tomorrow.” Dong, as the founder and president-CEO of Bona, has overseen the production of more than 260 films. Bona has provided funding for Emmerich’s “Independence Day: Resurgence,” “The Martian,” “Alien: Covenant,” and the upcoming “War for the Planet of the Apes.”

The story of the Battle of Midway was the subject of Universal’s 1976 epic “Midway,” starring Charlton Heston, Henry Fonda, James Coburn, Glenn Ford, Hal Holbrook, Toshiro Mifune, and Robert Mitchum. The film, produced by Walter Mirisch, was a major success with $42 million in box office.

Emmerich and Kloser are represented by CAA and Bloom Hergott Diemer Rosenthal Laviolette Feldman Schenkman & Goodman. Tooke is represented by WME, Rain Management Group, and Lichter Grossman Nichols & Adler. The news was first reported by Deadline Hollywood.

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