John Cena has been known for his catchphrase “you can’t see me,” and now, his long-running signature saying may have some truth to it. There may be no seeing him in an action movie that co-stars Jackie Chan.
The concept of Jackie Chan and John Cena joining forces on-screen for a collaborative film is enough to stir up excitement in anyone who’s ever stepped foot into a movie theater. John Cena and Jackie Chan were once in talks to star in Snafu, the movie that doesn’t exist. The film was previously filed under the titles of Project X and Project X-Traction, and neither will see release dates attached to them. Snafu was once locked in for theatrical debut and was almost completely financed by Chinese funding. The news first broke from Deadline that Cena would star alongside Chan, though updates on production became slimmer as the years trekked on.
A number of reports speculated on why Jackie Chan and John Cena’s team-up would be shelved, and while Cena’s acting excelled caliber could be part of it, there are other factors to contribute to why Snafu hasn’t seen the light of day. Cena referred to Taiwan as a country during his F9: The Fast Saga press conference, resulting in criticism as Chinese media discourages Taiwan from being referred to as an independent territory.
John Cena’s misstep over the Taiwanese comments hasn’t dented the domestic U.S. box office, nor has it affected any standing with Jackie Chan. But there is uncertainty over how well a movie such as Snafu would perform in America if the content isn’t tailored for American audiences, or any other region outside of China. There’s an even bigger concern regarding how the release would perform due to being a foreign film, as foreign pictures do not have the highest success rate at American theaters.
Jackie Chan has reportedly stopped making American movies, but that shouldn’t impact Snafu since it was filmed in China. It was intended that Snafu would replicate the success of one of China’s most popular home-grown movies, Wolf Warriors II. Director Scott Waugh was sure to mention that John Cena and Jackie Chan were excited to see the movie hit theaters. He also said that Snafu could set the pace for future United States-China movie collaborations in the future, though his remark about the challenge of “cross-pollination” could have stunted the actual release.
Snafu owns up to its namesake as its future is certainly in a snafu of its own. It’s hard to say where the movie will go from here as China provides little information when its films get shelved. It’s unlikely that this John Cena and Jackie Chan team-up will make its way into theaters as considering both the cultural conflict and the projected low box office earnings. In spite of the stars’ fame, it doesn’t look like the once-happening collab may make it all the way to audiences.