Tue. Jun 6th, 2023

If any person informed you a film starring John Cena and Jackie Chan was coming quickly to theaters, your ears would most likely perk up. The idea of those two notable motion stars becoming a member of forces for a film is actually rife with potential, particularly since Chan continues to be able to unbelievable feats of stunt work. This is the factor: That film does exist, it is known as Snafu — beforehand often known as Mission X and Mission X-Traction — and it completed filming years in the past. Nonetheless, whereas Snafu was as soon as set for a notable theatrical debut, there’s been no phrase since on when this movie, which was virtually totally financed by Chinese language corporations, will really get launched or even when it’s going to ever see the sunshine of day. What occurred right here? How might a film that united Cena and Chan turn into the equal of The Day the Clown Cried for contemporary motion film schlock?


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What Occurred to John Cena and Jackie Chan’s ‘Snafu’?

To grasp what occurred, we’ve to go to the start of Snafu, particularly when the undertaking began to get rolling. In June 2018, Deadline reported that Cena can be starring within the movie with Chan, which might shoot in China. Between then and now, rather a lot has modified, together with Cena’s caliber as an actor. This casting occurred months earlier than Bumblebee got here out, not to mention his extra high-profile work in The Suicide Squad or F9. In the meantime, the love affair between Hollywood studios and China that had been ongoing all through the 2010s was solely simply now beginning to see a touch of issues stemming from tumultuous U.S./China commerce relations.

Whereas there have been some ominous indicators of issues forward, these two movie industries have been largely nonetheless chummy and that made a manufacturing like Snafu that utilized American filmmakers and actors nonetheless appear engaging. Simply earlier than filming started in June 2018, director Scott Waugh and lead actors Chan and Cena talked about how excited they have been for the movie. “It’s going to be so particular,” Cena mentioned, in response to THR. “Not solely will we make a great film, I’m going to be taught a lot.” For his half, Chan was enthusiastic about what sort of characters the undertaking might present to the Chinese language movie business. “China as a rustic is larger and stronger now, so we actually want heroes,” Chan defined.

Picture by way of Fortune Star Media

The identical outlet additionally famous that the principle performers agreed that Snafu (then titled Mission X) would hope to copy the then-recent success of China’s greatest homegrown motion movies like Wolf Warriors II. The piece concluded with a now-unintentionally foreboding notice the place Waugh expressed hope that this manufacturing could possibly be seen as the brand new customary for U.S./China movie collaborations. “Cross-pollination has at all times been a problem,” Waugh famous. “However we wish it to entertain audiences all over the place.”

Filming proceeded with out a lot of a publicly-known hitch, with Cena revealing his love for residing in China throughout filming in September 2018. By the tip of the 12 months, cameras had completed rolling on Snafu. That is when issues went quiet for the undertaking, with nary a peep rising in 2019 on plans for when this motion movie would get launched. Cena referenced Snafu whereas selling Dolittle in January 2020, however solely to speak about his love for Chan and the way he treats his crew members. The affectionate antidote painted a high quality image of his co-star however Cena supplied no glimpse of when this film would lastly see the sunshine of day.

COVID-19 Pandemic Causes Extra Issues for the Movie’s Launch

Picture by way of Common Photos

The already unsure launch trajectory of the movie was put into much more chaos when the COVID-19 pandemic first shut down theaters in China, Snafu’s major market, in January 2020 earlier than the remainder of the world’s multiplexes adopted go well with simply two months later. Snafu couldn’t hit the Chinese language field workplace heights it was striving for if there have been no film theaters to play it. As soon as Chinese language theaters reopened in July 2021, there was nonetheless no phrase on Snafu, with multiplexes on this nation as a substitute targeted on screening movies just like the profitable struggle drama, The Eight Hundred.

That’s the opposite downside most definitely stifling Snafu’s launch. In the previous couple of years, and significantly in 2021, mainstream Chinese language cinema has largely been extra all for native productions starring Chinese language film stars. Whereas the occasional Avengers: Endgame can nonetheless dominate the Chinese language field workplace, the likes of Wolf Warriors II and Hello, Mother at the moment are the de facto titles that Chinese language moviegoers rush out for. Thus, an motion movie the place John Cena is on equal footing with Jackie Chan appears like a advertising and marketing threat for Chinese language distributors in 2021.

Cena’s Personal Snafu Could Have Additional Delayed ‘Snafu’

Picture by way of Hulu

The entire undertaking sounds even riskier to such people within the wake of Cena’s latest PR snafu. In Could 2021, whereas selling F9, Cena referred to Taiwan as a rustic, which is closely discouraged in Chinese language media. This prompted a backlash from China and a immediate apology from Cena. The response to the latter growth has seen Cena lambasted in each the West and the East, with it being unclear if Chinese language moviegoers will now hunt down an motion movie starring John Cena, even one which pairs him up with Jackie Chan. Snafu has already spent years lurking in obscurity, however Cena’s latest publicity issues have helped to alienate the one nation that was supposed to return out in droves to see it.

It is also unclear how a lot attraction there can be in North America for a title like Snafu. Whereas Cena’s Taiwan kerfuffle hasn’t impacted the home field workplace or launch of latest titles like F9 or Trip Pals, the larger downside is that Chinese language options not often get main pushes within the U.S. Even a record-break field workplace bonanza like Wolf Warriors II might solely safe distribution from Nicely Go USA in America.

Do American Stars Assist or Harm Jackie Chan’s Profession?

Picture by way of Saban Movies

In the meantime, Skiptrace, a 2016 movie pairing Chan with Johnny Knoxville, might solely muster up a direct to video-on-demand launch within the U.S., so even the novelty of a noteworthy American actor doesn’t assist homegrown Chinese language options garner main distribution. Regardless of starring a pair of main actors and carrying an $80 million finances, it’s unclear if there’s a lot demand for a notable launch of Snafu within the two greatest film markets on the planet.

The place does Snafu go from right here? It’s exhausting to say. The Chinese language movie business offers little to no explanations for when titles instantly get shelved, as seen by The Eight Hundred initially being deliberate for a 2019 debut earlier than getting abruptly delayed an entire 12 months. Thus, it’s unlikely there will probably be a lot readability on the way forward for Snafu, particularly since its field workplace prospects in any main territory appear low at greatest. The most effective hope John Cena and Jackie Chan have is that possibly some direct-to-video distributor will be capable to decide it up and provides it a digital launch.

This leaves Snafu in an extremely awkward place, particularly given all of the excessive hopes that have been as soon as hooked up to it. The notion of Cena and Chan starring in an motion movie nonetheless sounds prefer it might make for a enjoyable film whereas the enduring attraction of each Chan and motion motion pictures in China actually made it appear to be Snafu would turn into a field workplace hit on the earth’s largest moviegoing market. However rather a lot has modified within the time between when Snafu started filming and now. All these modifications have left Snafu in a state of such intense limbo that it appears seemingly we could by no means really get to this film.

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