The Chinese-based Bona Film Group finalized the biggest deal to come out of the Cannes Film Festival, shelling out $80 million for a new World War II thriller Midway, which has Roland Emmerich set to direct. Bona Film Group has acquired worldwide film distribution rights for every market except the U.S., with CAA brokering the deal and representing the U.S. rights. It isn’t clear if there is a domestic distributor being lined up quite yet, but this project is said to be Roland Emmerich’s next film.
Deadline reports that Wes Tooke (Colony) wrote the script, with Bona Film Group’s Yu Dong producing alongside Mark Gordon for The Mark Gordon Company, Matt Jackson and Harald Kloser. The film is an epic telling of the Battle of Midway, a turning point in the Pacific theater of World War II. The story follows the real soldiers and aviators who pulled off the unbelievable to turn the tide of the war in June 1942. This certainly won’t be the first time that this battle has been seen on the big screen before.
Moviegoers got their first taste of this battle in the 1942 documentary short The Battle of Midway, which was directed by John Ford, which debuted just months after the actual battle took place in June 1942. The director, along with cinematographer Joseph H. August were actually wounded by enemy fire while filming the battle. Charlton Heston narrated the documentary, and the actor would go on to star in the 1976 movie Midway, alongside Henry Fonda, Jame Coburn, Glenn Ford, Hal Holbrook, Robert Mitchum, Cliff Robertson, Robert Wagner and Japanese film icon Toshiro Mifune.
The actual battle took place between June 4 and June 6 in 1942, when Japanese forces tried to capture Midway Island in the South Pacific, but they were handily defeated by U.S. forces, with the Japanese losses outnumbering the American’s by a ratio of four-to-one. Before the battle, the American and Japanese naval forces were at a stalemate, with the Battle of Midway said to be the first battle where naval air power was used. This epic battle would eventually mark the beginning of the end to the Pacific theater portion of World War II.
This new project extends a partnership between Roland Emmerich and producer Mark Gordon that goes back to The Day After Tomorrow and 2012. Roland Emmerich most recently directed Independence Day: Resurgence, and he is currently working on a reboot of Stargate, based on the original movie he directed and co-wrote with Dean Devlin. No production schedule was given for Midway at this time, and it isn’t ultimately clear if this will be Roland Emmerich’s next project or not. Hopefully we’ll find out more about Midway soon.