Fan Bingbing, Bruce Willis War Drama ‘Air Strike’ Release Canceled in China After Tax Evasion Charges

Chinese actress was ordered to pay the equivalent of more than $100 million in taxes and fines earlier this month

Air Strike Bruce Willis Fan BingBing
China Film Group

World War II thriller “Air Strike” has been canceled after Chinese actress Fan Bingbing went missing amid with tax evasion charges.

According to the Associated Press, “Air Strike” director Xiao Feng posted on his Weibo miniblog on Wednesday that although he worked on the film for eight years, it was “time to let go.”

The thriller (also known as “Unbreakable Spirit” in China) that also stars Bruce Willis and Adrien Brody, was set to have an Oct. 26 release in both China and the United States.

Earlier this month, Fan Bingbing has been ordered to pay the equivalent of more than $100 million in taxes and fines. One of the most popular actresses in China, Fan hasn’t been seen in public or heard from since an early June visit to a children’s hospital in Tibet. Her absence prompted speculation that the Chinese government had quietly arrested her.

According to the AP, Chinese state media said Fan evaded taxes by using two separate contracts for “Air Strike.” Back in May, state tabloid Global Times said that she had a “yin-yang contract,” a term used to refer to when two contracts are signed with different salary amounts, with the smaller amount being reported on tax returns. In this case, Fan was said to have a public film contract for $1.5 million and a smaller one for $7.5 million. She denied it.

Over the past five years, Fan has risen to become one of the most successful stars in China’s rising film industry, earning major awards throughout Asia and lucrative luxury brand ad deals. She’s also taken a step into the world of Hollywood blockbusters with a minor role in “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” “Iron Man 3,” and the Chinese dub of “Despicable Me 3.” Before she disappeared, she had signed on to star in “355” with Penelope Cruz and Jessica Chastain.

TheWrap has reached out to producers Stephen J. Eads, Stephen Eckelberry, Kimberley Kates and Stan Wertlieb for comment. United Entertainment Partners, the Chinese distributor of the film, has not yet responded to TheWrap’s request for comment.