Mon. Jul 15th, 2024

If anyone advised you a film starring John Cena and Jackie Chan was coming quickly to theaters, your ears would most likely perk up. The idea of those two notable motion stars becoming a member of forces for a film is actually rife with potential, particularly since Chan remains to be able to unimaginable feats of stunt work. This is the factor: That film does exist, it is referred to as Snafu — beforehand generally known as Undertaking X and Undertaking X-Traction — and it completed filming years in the past. Nonetheless, whereas Snafu was as soon as set for a notable theatrical debut, there’s been no phrase since on when this movie, which was nearly completely financed by Chinese language firms, will truly get launched or even when it can ever see the sunshine of day. What occurred right here? How might a film that united Cena and Chan turn out to be the equal of The Day the Clown Cried for contemporary motion film schlock?


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What Occurred to John Cena and Jackie Chan’s ‘Snafu’?

To know what occurred, we now have to go to the start of Snafu, particularly when the challenge began to get rolling. In June 2018, Deadline reported that Cena can be starring within the movie with Chan, which might shoot in China. Between then and now, so much has modified, together with Cena’s caliber as an actor. This casting occurred months earlier than Bumblebee got here out, not to mention his extra high-profile work in The Suicide Squad or F9. In the meantime, the love affair between Hollywood studios and China that had been ongoing all through the 2010s was solely simply now beginning to see a touch of issues stemming from tumultuous U.S./China commerce relations.

Whereas there have been some ominous indicators of issues forward, these two movie industries had been largely nonetheless chummy and that made a manufacturing like Snafu that utilized American filmmakers and actors nonetheless appear engaging. Simply earlier than filming started in June 2018, director Scott Waugh and lead actors Chan and Cena talked about how excited they had been for the movie. “It’s going to be so particular,” Cena stated, in response to THR. “Not solely will we make a very good film, I’m going to study a lot.” For his half, Chan was enthusiastic about what sort of characters the challenge might present to the Chinese language movie trade. “China as a rustic is larger and stronger now, so we actually want heroes,” Chan defined.

Picture by way of Fortune Star Media

The identical outlet additionally famous that the primary performers agreed that Snafu (then titled Undertaking X) would hope to copy the then-recent success of China’s largest homegrown motion movies like Wolf Warriors II. The piece concluded with a now-unintentionally foreboding be aware the place Waugh expressed hope that this manufacturing could possibly be seen as the brand new commonplace for U.S./China movie collaborations. “Cross-pollination has at all times been a problem,” Waugh famous. “However we would like it to entertain audiences in all places.”

Filming proceeded with out a lot of a publicly-known hitch, with Cena revealing his love for residing in China throughout filming in September 2018. By the top of the yr, cameras had completed rolling on Snafu. That is when issues went quiet for the challenge, with nary a peep rising in 2019 on plans for when this motion movie would get launched. Cena referenced Snafu whereas selling Dolittle in January 2020, however solely to speak about his love for Chan and the way he treats his crew members. The affectionate antidote painted a nice image of his co-star however Cena supplied no glimpse of when this film would lastly see the sunshine of day.

COVID-19 Pandemic Causes Extra Issues for the Movie’s Launch

Picture by way of Common Footage

The already unsure launch trajectory of the movie was put into much more chaos when the COVID-19 pandemic first shut down theaters in China, Snafu’s main market, in January 2020 earlier than the remainder of the world’s multiplexes adopted go well with simply two months later. Snafu couldn’t hit the Chinese language field workplace heights it was striving for if there have been no film theaters to play it. As soon as Chinese language theaters reopened in July 2021, there was nonetheless no phrase on Snafu, with multiplexes on this nation as an alternative targeted on screening movies just like the profitable battle drama, The Eight Hundred.

That’s the opposite downside almost certainly stifling Snafu’s launch. In the previous few years, and notably in 2021, mainstream Chinese language cinema has largely been extra eager about native productions starring Chinese language film stars. Whereas the occasional Avengers: Endgame can nonetheless dominate the Chinese language field workplace, the likes of Wolf Warriors II and Hello, Mother at the moment are the de facto titles that Chinese language moviegoers rush out for. Thus, an motion movie the place John Cena is on equal footing with Jackie Chan feels like a advertising danger for Chinese language distributors in 2021.

Cena’s Personal Snafu Might Have Additional Delayed ‘Snafu’

Picture by way of Hulu

The entire challenge sounds even riskier to such people within the wake of Cena’s latest PR snafu. In Might 2021, whereas selling F9, Cena referred to Taiwan as a rustic, which is closely discouraged in Chinese language media. This prompted a backlash from China and a immediate apology from Cena. The response to the latter growth has seen Cena lambasted in each the West and the East, with it being unclear if Chinese language moviegoers will now hunt down an motion movie starring John Cena, even one which pairs him up with Jackie Chan. Snafu has already spent years lurking in obscurity, however Cena’s latest publicity issues have helped to alienate the one nation that was supposed to return out in droves to see it.

It is also unclear how a lot enchantment there can be in North America for a title like Snafu. Whereas Cena’s Taiwan kerfuffle hasn’t impacted the home field workplace or launch of latest titles like F9 or Trip Mates, the larger downside is that Chinese language options hardly ever get main pushes within the U.S. Even a record-break field workplace bonanza like Wolf Warriors II might solely safe distribution from Effectively Go USA in America.

Do American Stars Assist or Harm Jackie Chan’s Profession?

Picture by way of Saban Movies

In the meantime, Skiptrace, a 2016 movie pairing Chan with Johnny Knoxville, might solely muster up a direct to video-on-demand launch within the U.S., so even the novelty of a noteworthy American actor doesn’t assist homegrown Chinese language options garner main distribution. Regardless of starring a pair of main actors and carrying an $80 million funds, it’s unclear if there’s a lot demand for a notable launch of Snafu within the two largest film markets on the planet.

The place does Snafu go from right here? It’s exhausting to say. The Chinese language movie trade gives little to no explanations for when titles out of the blue get shelved, as seen by The Eight Hundred initially being deliberate for a 2019 debut earlier than getting abruptly delayed a complete yr. Thus, it’s unlikely there can be a lot readability on the way forward for Snafu, particularly since its field workplace prospects in any main territory appear low at greatest. The most effective hope John Cena and Jackie Chan have is that perhaps some direct-to-video distributor will be capable to decide it up and provides it a digital launch.

This leaves Snafu in an extremely awkward place, particularly given all of the excessive hopes that had been as soon as connected to it. The notion of Cena and Chan starring in an motion movie nonetheless sounds prefer it might make for a enjoyable film whereas the enduring enchantment of each Chan and motion motion pictures in China actually made it look like Snafu would turn out to be a field workplace hit on the earth’s largest moviegoing market. However so much has modified within the time between when Snafu started filming and now. All these modifications have left Snafu in a state of such intense limbo that it appears seemingly we could by no means truly get to this film.

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