​Rights holder won't give up 'Three-Body' series

By Zhang Rui
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China.org.cn, March 23, 2018
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The rights holder for "The Three-Body Problem" responded to rumors on Thursday that they would develop the films and TV series for the Hugo Award-winning Chinese science fiction trilogy with an open mind amidst reported Amazon interest.

Writer Liu Cixin and the logo of his "The Three-Body Problem" sci-fi series. [File photo]

A Financial Times report on Wednesday suggested that Amazon is in talks that will probably "result in it earmarking US$1 billion to acquire the rights to produce three seasons of episodes" based on the trilogy by Liu Cixin, which created a huge buzz in the Chinese film industry and online.

YooZoo Pictures, a film branch under Youzu Interactive, released a statement on Thursday, saying YooZoo Pictures is the sole owner of the rights for film and TV series adaptations of the sci-fi saga, as well as for the rights to develop various related merchandise.  

"We always have great passion and dedication for 'The Three-Body Problem' novels and will push forward the development of the film and TV adaptations of the series with a global vision and open mind," it stated, but remained vague as to whether Amazon had approached the company or they are in negotiations with the e-commerce giant for potential cooperation. 

A concept poster released by YooZoo Pictures in 2016 says "coming soon" for their "The Three-Body Problem" film production. [File photo]

YooZoo Pictures added in its statement that writer Liu Cixin will continue his involvement in the film and TV adaptations as a creative advisor.

Liu was also asked about the current situation by a reporter from film website Mtime.com yesterday after the news broke, but he said he didn't and will not contact Amazon directly because he had sold the rights to YooZoo. 

The writer believed it will be a good thing to adapt his novels into movie or TV epics, but he noted the translation from texts to visuals will not be easy and will require not just money, but deep thinking and creative inputs.

YooZoo Pictures had been developing a separate film based on the novel since 2015, on a budget of 200 million yuan (US$31.64 million). Although the director, Zhang Fanfan, has made several critically panned horror B-movies he has never had experience in directing sci-fi epics, so he was not popular among fans. 

The film will star acclaimed actors Feng Shaofeng and Zhang Jingchu and was originally scheduled to be released in 2017 in 3D but was postponed indefinitely due to the company's internal shuffling and the rumored "bad quality" of the film's first cut. 

However, YooZoo Pictures yesterday perhaps dropped somewhat of a hint at the end, "please wait and reserve your anticipation for a good work."

The sci-fi book series, which depicts the human race's contact and conflict with an alien civilization, has sold more than 7 million copies in Chinese and about 700,000 copies in English as of the end of 2017. The first volume won the Hugo Award for Best Novel in 2015, the highest honor in the sci-fi world.

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