Columbia Pictures, Will Smith team with Weintraub for Karate Kids remake

Mumbai: Columbia Pictures, Will Smith’s Overbrook Entertainment and Jerry Weintraub Productions will remake the 1984 hit The Karate Kid with Smith’s 10-year-old son Jaden Smith starring in the lead role.

The announcement was made by Columbia Pictures presidents Doug Belgrad and Matt Tolmach. The film will be produced by Jerry Weintraub, James Lassiter, Will Smith, and Ken Stovitz. Chris Murphy is writing the screenplay adaptation.

The new film will be set in China and shot on location next year in Beijing and other cities. China Film Group Corporation and Xinhua Media Entertainment, a subsidiary of XFMedia will co-produce the movie in China according to applicable Chinese co-production requirements.

Belgrad said, "Karate Kid is one of the studio’s prized franchises and we had been talking about how we could re-invigorate it for some time. So it was very exciting when Overbrook approached us with the idea of building a remake around Jaden and setting the new film in China. Jaden’s performance in The Pursuit of Happyness blew us away and we later found out that he’s a serious martial arts student. The fit couldn’t be more perfect. We’re honored to have the opportunity to shoot the new version of this film in China and we can’t wait to get underway next year."
Lassiter added, "The original Karate Kid tapped into a universal theme: that you can become a great fighter outside, but it means nothing without training the mind inside. Those lessons are just as relevant and true today as they were in 1984, and we look forward to bringing this story to a new generation."

Weintraub said, "I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to continue this series. The Karate Kid remains close to my heart and I couldn’t be more overjoyed by the opportunity to work with Jaden, James and Will. I believe we have a terrific new story to explore and one that will completely surprise and delight fans who are familiar with these films."

Jaden Smith is the 10 year-old son of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith. He made his feature film debut co-starring with his father in The Pursuit of Happyness. He will next be seen in The Day the Earth Stood Still.