Hong Kong’s Mei Ah Entertainment will produce four new films set in mainland China, with budgets totaling $50m.

The first will be 1950s-set spy thriller Windseeker, which was earlier announced to have Tony Leung starring.  Mei Ah announced that Leung would be co-starring with mainland actress Yang Mi.  Alan Mak will direct the film while Felix Chong will script, which is adapted from Chinese author Mai Jia’s espionage novel. The shoot will start in October.

Another film also to start shooting in October is Da Wu Dang (literally translated as Big Wu Tang Clan). The film is set in the 1910s about a major martial arts contest taking place on the Wu Tang Mountain. Hong Kong’s Patrick Leung will direct with Corey Yuen action directing. The film will star Louis Fan, Chiu Man-Cheuk and Yang Mi.

Yang will also join production of Chinese Princess Turandot, to be scripted by Kahn Chan (Red Cliff, Confucius) and contemporary suspense drama Butterfly Cemetery, which is adapted by Cai Jun’s novel of the same title.

Yang previously starred in Mei Ah’s horror film The Island, directed by Chung Kai Cheong, which became a summer sleeper hit in mainland China, grossing $13.14m (RMB85m) after being made with just a $700,000 production budget. 

At a press conference held in Beijing, Patrick Tong, managing director of Mei Ah Entertainment, said Mei Ah noted its artist management business in 2010 and within a year, the company has taken on actors such as Yang Mi, who has widespread fan base and big career potential.

In early 2011, Mei Ah began its cinema development business in China. So far, the company owns two cinemas in operation (in Guangzhou and Tianjin respectively) and signed five more cinemas in development.