Chow Yun-fat is set to star in Grand Shanghai a big-budget Chinese gangster thriller to be directed by Wong Jing.

Chinese studio Bona Film Group is one of the lead investors in the film and will distribute in mainland China. The project was announced today by Bona CEO Yu Dong as he discussed the NASDAQ-listed company’s fourth quarter and year-end results.

Infernal Affairs director Andrew Lau is expected to produce the film, which has the Chinese title Da Shanghai, and Sammo Hung and mainland Chinese actor Huang Xiaoming is also expected to join the cast.

The film is based on the true story of gangster Du Yuesheng, who had close ties to Chiang Kai-shek and the KMT government in 1920s and ‘30s Shanghai. Chow previously starred in TV series The Bund, based on the same subject, which catapulted him to fame in the 1980s.

Yu Dong told financial analysts that Grand Shanghai is one of two upcoming films, along with Wong Kar-wai’s The Grandmaster, that Bona is likely to distribute in China in the IMAX format.

Bona scored a hit last year with Wong Jing’s Treasure Inn and will also distribute his upcoming Princess And The Seven Kung Fu Masters.

Meanwhile, Bona reported that net revenues in 2011 increased 139% to $126.2m, while non-GAAP net income increased 69.4% to $18.2m. The strong results were partly due to the success of its year-end 3D release Flying Swords Of Dragon Gate which grossed more than $87m (RMB550m) in China.

The company’s 2012 releases will also include The Three Musketeers, which it acquired from Summit Entertainment and plans to release in May.