Stan Lee's Monkey Master is in development as a feature film with financing coming from Chinese and Indian firms.
As a global cultural icon, Stan Lee has had a great deal of success marketing some of his recent, non-Marvel projects to the international market. Development on hils Bollywood film Chakra the Invincible has been progressing steadily for a while, and the film got a director back in April.
Variety reports that China's Shinework Pictures has partnered with Lee's POW! Entertainment, and Graphic India to work on the film, which will also be co-produced with India's Cinema Capital Advisory.
"The (Monkey Master) story will take place between ancient and modern day China and India as the myth of monkey warriors, known to both cultures, come together in the creation of a modern day superhero," said frequent Stan Lee collaborator Sharad Devarajan, co-founder and CEO of Graphic India. "The film is on a fast-track development course and our ideal would be to get into production in the fourth quarter of 2017. The shooting language would most likely be in English."
While they haven't yet determined who will appear in or act in the film, Devarajan said it would likely be directed by a Western director.
Hollywood films are huge in the Chinese market, but by and large, Chinese cinema accounts for a very small amount of North American revenue. To combat this, films like The Great Wall are starting to be produced in English, with Hollywood talent and an eye toward theatrical releases in the United States. Meanwhile, films like this year's Warcraft demonstrated that sometimes there's a huge appetitite in the international market for content the U.S. box office rejects.