New China-US co-production debuts on Netflix

By Li Xiaoyang
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Beijing Review, October 31, 2020
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Over the Moon, a Chinese-U.S. co-production landed on Netflix, a U.S.-based streaming website, and hit theaters in China on October 23. The film was co-produced by Shanghai-headquartered Pearl Studio, formerly known as Oriental DreamWorks, and Netflix.  

Directed by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Glen Keane, the film tells the story of a 12-year-old girl, Fei Fei, building a rocket to travel to the moon. While mourning the death of her mother several years earlier, she hoped to ask Chang'e, the legendary Moon Goddess, to help persuade her father not to remarry. The film features a strong Asian-American voice cast, including Cathy Ang, Phillipa Soo, Ken Jeong and John Cho. 

The production of the film, which began in 2017, has not been a smooth sailing. Halfway through the production, screenwriter Audrey Wells died after combating cancer and her script "was a love letter to her daughter and for her husband," according to Gennie Rim, producer of the film. 

The film has combined the Disney styles with Chinese cultural elements including Mid-Autumn Festival and scenes in Wuzhen, a water town in Zhejiang Province, east China. "The film is beyond my expectations. The previous China-U.S. co-productions often presented Chinese styles for the sake of presenting such styles, while Over the Moon depicts real daily life of the Chinese people and shows great imagination," Luo Zhong, a film critic based in Beijing, posted on Weibo, a Chinese Twitter-like platform. He added that the adaption of the image of Chang'e from an otherworldly goddess to one who loves to sing and dance brings the film closer to the audience.  

For families dealing with so much pain and grief in 2020, Over the Moon could be the kind of fable they need to help process what's going unspoken in their lives, Brian Tallerico, Editor of, wrote in a film review posted on the website.  

China has seen a boom in animated films adapted from ancient fables or domestic cartoonists' works, such as last year's box office champion Ne Zha and The Legend of Deification. "China's animated films are improving by following latest trends. Instead of copying ancient stories, the films have been adapted to echo with modern audience while maintaining the traditional elements," Zhao Guisheng, an associate professor with Shanghai Normal University, told People's Daily.  

With the novel coronavirus disease largely brought under control, movie theaters in China raised the cap on maximum seating capacity to 75 percent starting from September 25. Data from Maoyan, a movie ticketing and film data platform, showed that China's box-office revenue exceeded 13.4 billion yuan ($1.9 billion) as of October 18 since domestic theaters gradually reopened starting July 20. 

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