While Wong Kar-Wai‘s films have by and large been critically acclaimed, and beloved among cinephiles, they haven’t exactly broken down the doors at the box office. But that seems to be changing with “The Grandmaster.” The picture, which is now open in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore, is reportedly his most commercially successful effort yet. And it looks like the helmer may continue the saga of Ip Man.
The Oriental Daily (via WongKarWai) reports that distributors for “The Grandmaster” want a sequel, and that Wong Kar-Wai “is considering” taking it on. However, he may have a bit of a stumbling block if indeed he wants to push forward. His leading man and longtime collaborator Tony Leung, isn’t interested. While there have been rumors the two had a bit of a falling out during the lengthy three-year production on the movie, they have been gamely doing press together, and Leung simply says he wants a change of scenery.
“I want to try new things. I like staying fresh. If I do the same things over and over again, it won’t be fun,” he explained. And one can certainly understand why after spending so much time on this movie and character, he might not be interested in doing it again. That said, Wong Kar-Wai’s film covers Ip Man’s life up until, roughly, the 1950s, but he died in 1972, so theoretically there are still two more decades to cover, up until his death from throat cancer, including his mentorship of Bruce Lee).
Meanwhile, there are changes being made to “The Grandmaster” itself. THR reports that the movie has been cut by 15 minutes for its international release, as it gears up to screen for European journalists in Paris this week. The director heads to Germany to preside over the jury at the Berlin International Film Festival starting on Thursday, where the movie will also screen. He has apparently hinted at a longer director’s cut eventually being released later, but it’s a bit of bummer we’ll be getting a shortened version. We’d wager this will make the movie an easier sell for distributors by getting the runtime under two hours, but it’s nothing we want to see happen.
“The Grandmaster” still awaits a U.S. distributor and release date, but until then, watch the trailer below.