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Skydance, China’s Alibaba Pictures Team on WWII Movie ‘Flying Tigers’

Randall Wallace will write the script, which follows a group of American pilots who fought alongside the Chinese

Skydance, a diversified media company that creates elevated, event-level entertainment for global audiences, and Alibaba Pictures, Alibaba Group’s entertainment affiliate, on Wednesday announced that they will join forces to finance and produce a “Flying Tigers” feature film for global release. It has been designated by Skydance Media and Alibaba Pictures as a high-priority development project.

The screenplay will be written by Oscar-nominated writer Randall Wallace (“Braveheart”) and produced by David Ellison and Dana Goldberg of Skydance together with a team from Alibaba Pictures.

The Flying Tigers — formally known as the 1st American Volunteer Group of the Chinese Air Force — was a group of volunteer pilots from the U.S. Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps.

Led by Captain Claire Lee Chennault, the group fought alongside the Chinese during World War II. The Flying Tigers project will tell the story of the unique brotherhood formed by these intrepid soldiers.

“This production partnership with Alibaba Pictures on Flying Tigers marks an important next step in our strategy to expand the reach of the Skydance brand on a global basis,” said David Ellison, Chief Executive Officer of Skydance Media. “We could not be more excited to work with the incomparable Randall Wallace to bring to life the extraordinary, untold story of the great commitment and sacrifices made by this courageous group of pilots.”

“Flying Tigers carries with it a rich legacy and a movie about this subject matter has been highly anticipated for a very long time,” added Zhang Wei, President of Alibaba Pictures. “It is an ideal piece of content in which to invest and produce with Skydance, a studio with a proven track record of bringing films to the big screen that are both sweeping in scope and universal in appeal.”

“Skydance’s relationship with Alibaba Pictures got off to a great start last summer with ‘Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation’ and we look forward to deepening our ties even further as we jointly develop, produce and finance ‘Flying Tigers,’ an authentic story that draws from both Chinese and U.S. history,” said Skydance Chief Operating Officer Jesse Sisgold.

Randall Wallace is a screenwriter, director, producer and songwriter who earned an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay and Writers Guild of America award for Best Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen for “Braveheart.” He also wrote and directed “The Man in the Iron Mask,” “We Were Soldiers” and “Heaven Is For Real” and wrote the screenplay for “Pearl Harbor.” Wallace is the New York Times best-selling author of eight novels.

Today, Skydance is a leading producer and financier of major Hollywood studio films and television shows. Since its inception in 2010, Skydance has produced 10 feature films, which have cumulatively grossed approximately $4 billion in worldwide box office receipts. The Company’s current film slate includes “Star Trek Beyond” with Paramount on July 22, 2016, “Jack Reacher: Never Go Back “with Paramount on October 21, 2016, “Geostorm” with Warner Brothers on January 13, 2017 and “Life” with Sony on March 24, 2017.

Alibaba Pictures began investing in Hollywood film with its stake in the 2015 Skydance film “Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation” in partnership with Paramount Pictures