Netflix acquires Chinese sci-fi blockbuster

Netflix has bought the rights to "The Wandering Earth" and will stream it in more than 190 countries and translate it into 28 languages.
Wu Jing in 'The Wandering Earth'
Beijing Culture
Wu Jing in 'The Wandering Earth'

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In one of its biggest rights acquisition deals so far, Netflix has bought the rights to "The Wandering Earth", a Chinese sci-fi hit that's becoming one of the country's most successful films ever. 

Netflix announced that it bought the rights to the blockbuster to stream it in more than 190 countries and translate it into 28 languages. The value of the deal and release date on Netflix have not yet been disclosed. 

Since opening on Feb 5, the movie has grossed over $610 million, already making it the second-biggest movie in the country ever. and is on track to surpass 2017's Wolf Warrior 2 ($854 million) as China's top-grossing film of all time. 

Produced by leading studio Beijing Culture and state-owned China Film Group Corp, the film revolves around the imminent explosion of the sun, which prompts mankind to attempt to move Earth out of its solar system and find a new home. Directed by Frant Gwo and based on the novella by Liu Cixin, the film is China's first big-budget sci-fi epic and stars Chinese action hero Wu Jing. 

With many in the Beijing film industry sceptical of the big-budget sci-fi venture's success at the box office, the movie's embrace of local values and high production quality has made Chinese audiences proud of seeing their local heroes in a big Hollywood style outer space adventure for the first time.

In an interview with The Holywood Reporter, director Gwo said, "When the Earth experiences this kind of crisis in Hollywood films, the hero always ventures out into space to find a new home, which is a very American approach — adventure, individualism. But in my film, we work as a team to take the whole Earth with us. This comes from Chinese cultural values — homeland, history and continuity."

While Netflix doesn't operate in China, the SVOD giant is making a big push in other Asian markets where it will continue its strategy of acquiring exclusive streaming rights to popular content outside their local areas.

“Netflix is committed to providing entertainment lovers with access to a wide variety of global content,” said Jerry Zhang, manager of content acquisition at Netflix. “With its high-quality production and story-telling, we believe that ‘The Wandering Earth’ will be loved by sci-fi fans around the world.”

“The movie is a majestic feast for the eyes with massive production scale rarely seen in Mandarin films,” Netflix said. “Its post-production and special effects work spanned two years, undergoing more than 3,000 conceptual designs, and featuring over 10,000 specifically built props, while employing an impressive 2,000 special effects shots and a substantial amount of computer graphics shots.”

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