Snow White and the seven kung fu monks: Disney sights on China-UK Guardian-7/5/05
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The Wicked Queen will not know what hit her. Snow White is about to be transformed into a martial arts epic with Shaolin monks replacing the seven dwarves of the original Grimm Brothers fairytale.
In a sign of the times, Walt Disney is behind the kung fu retelling of its 1937 animated classic, which is part of an intensifying strategy to make inroads into the Chinese cinema market ahead of Hollywood rivals.
Yuen Woo-ping, the fight choreographer for the Matrix trilogy, Kill Bill and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, has been recruited to direct the film, which will be shot in China later this year.
Tentatively titled Snow and the Seven, the story - scripted by Pulitzer prize-winning author Michael Chabon - will be set in a British concession of colonial China in the 1880s.
The remake is part of an attempt by Hollywood studios to capitalise on the relaxation of controls on film-making and screen building in a potential market of 1.3 billion people.
China has one of the world's most protected and least-developed film industries. With less than 2,000 mostly old cinemas, its ratio of screens to people is 70 times lower than in the US.
Box-office revenues are tiny, but they grew last year by 50%. According to the investment bank China eCapital, sales of tickets and merchandising will more than double by 2007.