Korea's Chungeorahm Film, producer of Bong Joon-ho's The Host, has announced it will be co-producing a China-based sequel to the mutanthit with Chinese director Ning Hao's newly-established Stoneman Films.

Choi Yong-bae, CEO of Chungeorahm, and Daniel Yu, producer of Ning's sleeper hit Crazy Stone, will take producer credits on the film.

'Ning Hao has agreed to direct, and we are talking with his representation at CAA to iron out the contract,' said Choi in an interview with Screendaily.

'When The Host opened in China in March last year - with the title of The Han River Monster - it was already five months after the Korean DVD release and pirate copies were everywhere. So we couldn't spend a lot on P&A - yet the film opened at number one and became the top grossing Korean film in China at the time,' said Choi.

'This is what made me think a film like this made in China could work. A small number of large-scale films bring in the audiences in China, but they are mostly martial arts and period films. The freshness of a large-scale, modern genre film could have great potential,' he explained.

Also thedirector of the international award-winning films Mongolian Ping Pong and Incense, Ning is noted for his sensibility for black comedy.

Although The Host's CGI workwas done by California-based The Orphanage, the sequel's producers are considering New Zealand's Weta Workshop and other companies based in Hong Kong and Koreafirst, before they look across the Pacific for help on the effects.

The project is currently in the scriptwriting stage, with budget estimates in the $12m range. Chungeorahm says it isaiming for alate 2009 release.

Funding for 50% of the film will come from China, with the rest to come from Korea with possibly aHong Kong partner.

Chungeorahm also has a separate Korean sequel in development in the $12m range. Manga artist Kang Full, whose series such as Hello, Schoolgirl and Ba:bo have provided original material for films, is set to make hisscreenwriting debut with The Host 2.