Following the international theme set by several other stories we’ve been following this week, news comes down that Transcendence, the sci-fi thriller starring Depp, Kate Mara, Morgan Freeman, Cillian Murphy, Rebecca Hall, and Paul Bettany and executive produced by Christopher Nolan, will receive major funding from China’s DMG Entertainment. DMG will also distribute the film in China, although Warner Bros. holds distribution rights in the U.S. The move is reflective of China’s growing influence in the world film market, backed not only by the enormous business potential for sales in the territory (DMG, for one, recently distributed hits like Looper and Iron Man 3 in China), but also for the rising strength of Chinese productions as big-budget players on the world scene.
Transcendence is the first feature directed by Wally Pfister. Pfister has been working in the industry as a cinematographer since 1990, and has shot films like The Italian Job, Moneyball, and every Christopher Nolan film since Memento. The high-concept near-future thriller “is about that moment when human consciousness and the insanely fast rise of computing power collide,” according to DMG CEO Dan Mintz, and “pulls from the idea of singularity to tell a truly meaningful story that is more ‘science reality’ than science fiction.” The “singularity,” for those unfamiliar, refers to a theoretical moment in time when natural human capacities and technological computing power will become fused in a way that gives rise to human superintelligence.
Transcendence will follow a pair of scientists striving for the singularity while radical anti-tech organizations try to stop them. It’s being produced by Alcon entertainment (Beautiful Creatures, The Blind Side), is scheduled to complete principal photography this month, and will be released in the U.S. April 18, 2014.