Baidu unit iQiyi has signed an agreement with Sony Pictures for Chinese adaptation of ‘Chosen’

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 01 December, 2016, 8:32pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 01 December, 2016, 11:01pm

Baidu Inc’s internet film unit iQiyi has signed a deal with Sony Pictures to adapt the English-language action drama Chosen into online movie series in Putonghua.

iQiyi will provide the majority of the funding and co-produce three movies under the series.

“The total investment has yet to be confirmed, but we will invest more than 10 million yuan in each movie,” Yang Xianghua, senior vice president at iQiyi said.

Production of the first movie is expected to start next spring and debut in the autumn.

Chosen is a television series about a family which becomes drawn into a deadly game, but ultimately binds together to support each other. The drama aired for three seasons from 2013.

As a Putonghua-language version of the drama, the movies will feature Chinese actors in the leading roles, as well as international actors and production crew.

Dou Lili, general manager of the company’s internet film production unit, said the script will be adapted with changes tailored for the Chinese market.

For instance, the story will have an alternative ending to provide more “positive energy”, she said.

iQiyi is seen an innovator among Chinese internet video companies.

Yang said the market for internet film is growing, adding that he expects the number of movies and investment to continue to increase.

He added that investing in online video content will help iQiyi further diversify its income streams and boost the number of paid users.

He declined to provide a target in terms of paid users growth next year, apart from saying that it will be “very high”.

iQiyi said in June that the number of its VIP users had exceeded 20 million. The VIP users are charged a month membership fee and need to purchase an online ticket for watching unique content such as Hollywood blockbusters.

iQiyi recently signed an agreement with Lionsgate for rights to stream selected titles from its catalogue. Top movie titles include Mark Wahlberg’s Patriots Day and American Assassin.

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