Written by Fred Bailey
Three things you should know about China’s Wolf Warrior 2.
#1—It dominates the world box office at $850M in tickets sold.
#2—It’s China’s foreign-language Oscar submission this year.
And #3—It’s China’s all-time biggest-grossing film.
In case that’s not enough, here’s something else: According to Box Office Mojo, it’s also number 55 in the world’s 100 top-grossing movies, the only non-Hollywood entry on that list.
Made on a budget of about $30M, it is a thunderous action spectacle.
Where did it come from?
It’s the work of its 43-year-old writer/director/star Wu Jing.
Born in Beijing to a family of martial artists, Wu got his start in Hong Kong in the mid-1990s. After more than 20 action thrillers and a lot of TV, he got some good advice from a mentor who told him, “Do everything yourself…win or lose, it’s in your own hands.”
He went off on his own to make the original Wolf Warrior on a $12M investment from his wife. People told him he’d be lucky if he broke even.
But it surprised them all when it brought in $90M and opened the way for a record-breaking sequel.
Wolf Warrior 2 is set in Africa and co-stars ubiquitous American character actor Frank Grillo as the villain of the piece.
Grillo has been around about as long as Wu. You might have seen him in The Purge: Election Year, in two Captain Americas: Winter Soldier and Civil War, as well as grittier stuff like Zero Dark Thirty and The Grey with Liam Neeson.
Not that anybody says it will, but it’s not going to hurt Grillo’s career to be spotted prominently in one of the most widely-seen movies ever made.