According to Asian film website MonkeyPeaches, a large group of American studio representatives were recently invited to the set of Zhang Yimou's latest epic, The City of Golden Armor (MP's extensive archive of stories on the film is here). In addition to representatives of eight American distributors, Zhang's guests included Oliver Stone and Steven Spielberg -- this, my friends, is a hard freaking sell.

Press reports in China suggest that sales of high-profile Chinese action-romance films for American distribution -- sales that had, in the wake of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, been fairly easy to broker -- are suffering because of the debacle surrounding Chen Kaige's The Promise. The experience of The Weinstein Company, which bought the rights the the movie based on its Cannes trailer only to decide the finished product wasn't strong enough for a wide release, has  apparently given American companies cold feet about the Chinese industry in general. In response, Zhang is opening his set up to those companies, in an effort to both sell his film and, one imagines, re-energize the market.

It seems as if Zhang is setting his film up as a sort of litmus test to see if Crouching Tiger and Hero-style films can still succeed here; it'll be fascinating to see if and when The City of Golden Armor sells, and how well it does in a possible American release.