Ancient classic, modern tale

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Warrior Guan Yu and others going to a battle.

 Warrior Guan Yu and others going to a battle. [Global Times]


"We are surprised with the result, when we invested in this film we were not sure if it would be successful, we actually were prepared to be in deficit," producer Yang Xiaojun told the Global Times.

According to Yang, the prime-time show is the most expensive TV series in Chinese TV history, with the initial 80 million yuan (US$11 million) budget skyrocketing to between 150-160 million yuan (US$21-22 million) with the inclusion of 40 million yuan (US$5.8 million) of special effects.

Director Gao added that the massive investment has paid off, with each episode selling for 2.67 million yuan (US$390,870) in China and commanding even higher prices for overseas sales.

Despite the financial success, Yang refused to reveal the gross.

"Whatever the gross is, Three Kingdoms is already a miracle in all perspectives," he smiled.

The show has been bought, or is under negotiation, by more than 20 countries and regions, another first for a Chinese mainland TV series.

"For the East Asia region, it is not hard to sell," Yang said. "For Taiwan, we have already made the deal, it will broadcast later this year. A Japanese company has also bought the Japanese distribution rights and assured us it would broadcast on one or two major channels in Japan."

Three Kingdoms has also been sold to mainstream TV channels in Romania and Turkey and talks are underway with US TV channels.

"HBO has shown interest, it is highly possible for us to edit our Three Kingdoms footage into a 10-episode series for HBO," Yang said.

"Three Kingdom-themed films and TV, including Three Kingdoms, all benefit from the well-established Three Kingdoms' story and characters in China and East Asia," media analyst Luo Zhan told the Global Times.

"For overseas, battles, fights and warrior-themes are also among the most popular. Three Kingdoms has these advantages, therefore, there is no surprise it is making a so-called success."


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