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November 21, 2016

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China-UK movie that is wild about cats

THE film unit of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba and the British “Harry Potter” producer David Heyman announced yesterday that they will make a fantasy movie “Warriors” based on a book series about warring cats.

The live action film with computer-generated cats is based on the British books for young adults about clans of wild cats, with themes including adventure, forbidden love and good versus evil.

The series has a fan following in countries including China, and the film is intended for worldwide audiences.

Heyman, an independent film producer behind “Paddington” and “Gravity,” said he sought out Alibaba when he was in China almost two years ago on a trip to promote British creativity and British-Chinese cultural exchange.

“This is becoming the largest market in the world so you are looking to understand that market,” he said at a news conference at the British Embassy in Beijing.

“It’s hard to get a film made today. I’ve had some success but every time you start a film you start a new business, so I’m always looking for people over the world.”

He said “Warriors” was a “perfect Chinese-British story because its values are universal.”

Heyman added it was too early to say how much of the creative team would be Chinese and they still did not have a script for the film, which would likely be in 3D.

There was no guarantee the movie would be shown in China, he said.

Alibaba Pictures Group was formed in 2014. Its first film, “The Ferryman,” comes out next month.

It has already invested in Hollywood films including “Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation” and “Star Trek Beyond,” and last month announced it would partner with Stephen Spielberg’s Amblin Partners to co-produce films for global audiences.

Alibaba Pictures secured the film rights to “Warriors” last month.


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