The Warring States will be the company’s largest North American release, on 30+ screens.

New Zealand and Chinese distribution outfit China Lion Film Distribution picks up three major Chinese-language films, including Chinese period drama The Warring States starring Kim Hee-sun and Nakai Kiichi, Andrew Lau’s A Beautiful Life and China Film Group’s Founding of A Party.

Historic drama The Warring States, produced by Chinese production house Starlit, will be released in mainland China and North America on Apr 20.

China Lion’s Beijing-based president Jiang Yanming says the company is preparing the largest-scaled North America release for The Warring States, which will open in 12 cities and more than 30 screens in major US cities including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Miami, in cinemas of China Lion’s US partner AMC Entertainment and its Canada partner Cineplex.

“We are gradually expanding the scale in our North American releases, especially after the good performances of IfYou Are the One II,” Jiang says. He says The Warring States, a film about Chinese military strategist Sun Bin, has potentials to attract audiences beyond Chinese communities. “If the upcoming films are doing well, we are considering to release up two Asian films in a month,” Jiang says.

The $22m-budgeted film is directed by Jin Chen (Crossing Over) Starring Sun Honglei, Jing Tian, and Hong Kong’s Francis Ng alongside Kim Hee-sun and Nakai Kiichi. The story centres on Sun Bin (Sun Honglei) and his rival Pang Juan (Francis Ng) and the development of his later classic book The Art of War.

Lau’s contemporary drama A Beautiful Life stars Shu Qi and Liu Ye, while China Film Group’s Founding of a Party features the establishment of the Chinese Communist Party in the early 1920s. The two films will be released in May and June respectively.