Mandarin-language remake targets Chinese love affair with romantic comedies.

Italian battle of the sexes comedies Men Vs Women and Women Vs Men are to be remade for the Chinese market in a joint project involving Cai Gongming’s Lushang Youhua (Road Pictures) and Italian producer Cristiano Bortone.

Italian filmmaker Fausto Brizzi’s original films (Maschi contro Femmine and Femmine contro Maschi), each consisting of four intertwining stories exploring the battle of the sexes, came out in Italy in 2010 and 2011.

Their light-hearted take on love and gender relations could prove a perfect fit for the Chinese film market where romantic comedies such as Finding Mr. RightOne Night Surprise and So Young have been drawing big audiences over the past year.

Bortone of Orisa Produzioni, which operates in Italy and Germany, negotiated the acquisition of the Mandarin-language remake rights for both films from Frederica Lucisano and Fulvio Lucisano of Italian International Film, who produced the film with the support of Rai Cinema. He is collaborating with Road Pictures on the development of the remake.

“The Chinese version takes two episodes from each of the original films to make one film. Some of the episodes in the original films wouldn’t work culturally in China,” said Bortone. “We could eventually use some of the remaining episodes for a sequel.”

Cai Gongming, former vice president of Mercedes-Benz in China, is packaging the remake through his recently created film company Road Pictures.

“We’re in discussions with some big companies in China to partner on production and distribution,” commented Cai, adding principal photography was scheduled for the forth quarter of 2014.

“We don’t have any confirmed cast members as yet but we’re confident the film will attract top stars, which is important for its success in China,” he added.

Beijing University graduate Cai spent more than a decade in Germany working for automobile company FAW-Volkswagen as a general manager of sales and network development for the Audi division before returning to China to work for Mercedes-Benz.

He resigned from the car manufacturer at the beginning of 2013 and then set up Lushang Youhua, or Road Pictures in English.

Cai’s ambition for the company is for it to become a leading presence in the new Chinese cinema market. The company is developing a slate of commercial and quality driven projects aimed at both the Chinese and international arena.

Road Pictures is also co-producing Bortone’s upcoming picture Coffee, intertwining three stories set in Rome, London and Beijing. The UK’s Ipso Facto Films and China’s Ray Productions are also attached to the film. 

Producer and filmmaker Bortone, whose recent producer credits include Stijn Coninx’s Marina, has forged strong links with the China’s growing film industry through his work as tutor at the Beijing Film Academy.