Air Strike, a Chinese blockbuster starring Fan Bingbing, Bruce Willis and Adrien Brody, has reportedly had its film release canceled amid the superstar actress' tax evasion scandal.
Director Xiao Feng, who had been working on the film for eight years, hinted that its scheduled October 26 premiere had been canceled Wednesday afternoon on Weibo. "No matter how many facts we hold, it doesn't help," he wrote. "No matter how innocent we are, our reputation will not be untarnished. No matter how much we paid, it doesn't help to keep things going. It's time to let go."
The World War II-era film, which was art directed by Mel Gibson and had a USD65 million budget, was expected to be a box office hit. Its ensemble cast included a list of high-profile actors such as Fan, Willis, Brody, Nicholas Tse and Liu Ye. Fan only had a minor appearance in one scene of the film, according to the South China Morning Post.
Photo via Origin Films/IMDB
Originally scheduled for an August release, the film's showing date was delayed to October 26 shortly after Fan disappeared from social media following accusations that she had illegally evaded taxes. Fan was eventually fined a whopping RMB884 million for her actions. Five officials from the Wuxi Tax Bureau were also punished.
In the fallout of the scandal, the film lost funding and was only able to complete post-production thanks to funds raised by Xiao himself, according to the SCMP.
According to Beijing News, the film may reportedly still be shown in theaters, though a new release date has not yet been announced. There is no China release date listed on the film's Douban page. It's also unclear if the film will still be released internationally.
Meanwhile, Fan resurfaced earlier this week. In her first appearance in at least three months, the actress was briefly spotted outside Beijing Capital International Airport on Monday before heading into a car.
Image via iFeng
Image via iFeng
Image via Sina
UPDATE (October 17, 2018 at 7.24pm CST): This article has been corrected to reflect the fact that the film may have been postponed rather than canceled.
[Cover image via Fan Bingbing/Instagram]