SHANGHAI • Even as Hollywood studios try to milk the vast Chinese market for box-office success, one veteran - director Renny Harlin - has based himself in Beijing to be a step ahead of others.
It has paid off, with the Finnish film-maker picked to helm a thriller called The Hanging Coffin, with funding from Chinese companies.
The venture was announced on Sunday, during the first full day of the Shanghai International Film Festival, reported the Hollywood Reporter.
Harlin, 58, cut his teeth in Hollywood directing well-received movies such as Die Hard 2 (1990) and Cliffhanger (1993).
He directed last year's Jackie Chan action-comedy vehicle Skiptrace, co-starring Johnny Knoxville, which earned US$136.6 million (S$188.9 million) in China.
The potential in the country convinced Harlin to set up shop in Beijing, netting him a directing turn in fantasy-martial arts film Legend Of The Ancient Sword for billionaire Jack Ma's Alibaba Pictures.
The movie is set to hit theatres later this year.
Asked how he fits into the Chinese movie system, he told the Hollywood Reporter: "The last thing to do is to come here with a really arrogant Hollywood attitude.
"You have to be humble and you have to bend and blend in and sacrifice your Los Angeles lifestyle."