The "Now You See Me" franchise was such a big hit in China that a local film company is teaming up with Lionsgate to make a Chinese-language spinoff of the magician thriller franchise. Chinese film company Leomus Pictures and Lionsgate are now in negotiations about producing "Escape Plan 2" as a U.S.-Chinese co-production.
Escape Plan 2 is being developed as an official U.S.-China co-production with shooting locations in China. It is also believed that the film will feature mostly Chinese cast.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reported, Leomus Pictures chief executive officer Jie Qiu said, "We're working closely with Lionsgate on the story. And a Hollywood writer will be involved to make sure the spinoff is aligned with the "Now You See Me" franchise and has the same level of quality."
Many market analysts agree that the prospect of a Chinese language spinoff of the franchise will be the most logical thing to pursue considering the immense popularity of the two films released in the country.
"Now You See Me 2" opened in June to a massive $43.3 million success in China, making it Lionsgate's biggest ever opening weekend in the country. In comparison, the film opened in the United States earning $23 million. After three weeks on the Chinese box office, "Now You See Me 2" has amassed $94.5 million, eclipsing its North America revenue record of $63.7 million.
During the production stage of "Now You See Me 2," Leomus Pictures was giving advice to Lionsgate on how to tailor the film in order to appeal to the local Chinese audience.
"Now You See Me 2" features returning cast Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Mark Ruffalo, Dave Franco, and Morgan Freeman, with Lizzy Caplan replacing Isla Fisher. Daniel Radcliffe played the antagonist Walter. The film also casts prominent Taiwanese actor Jay Chou on a supporting role. The film's story took place in the Chinese casino haven of Macau.