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Leading independent comic book publisher Dark Horse Comics has signed a development deal with Le Vision Pictures USA, the Los Angeles-based offshoot of the Chinese production group, to adapt a slate of six Chinese graphic novels.
The deal, announced Nov. 9, includes hit Chinese titles P.A.I.U. – Paranormal Activity Investigation Unit, The Path to Immortality, The Descendants of Straw Mountain, Gods of China, The Naughty Queen and Magical Days. Taken together, the six titles, which have been distributed digitally in China, have generated more than 400 million hits.
Le Vision and Dark Horse will adapt the six graphic novels into English-language books, which will then serve as the basis for feature film adaptations.
Le Vision is the third largest non-government owned film studio in China. They produced hit Chinese film franchise Tiny Times and co-financed and distributed The Expendables 2 and 3 in China. The studio is currently in production, together with Legendary East and Universal Pictures, on Zhang Yimou’s The Great Wall starring Matt Damon, the biggest U.S.-Chinese co-production to date.
Dark Horse has turned dozens of its comics into feature films, including Frank Miller’s Sin City and 300, Mike Mignola’s Hellboy and Peter M. Lenkov’s R.I.P.D.
“Dark Horse’s success in developing intellectual properties, coupled with Le Vision Pictures’ unmatched skill will make a formidable partnership,” said Le Vision CEO Zhang Zhao. “Comics and graphic novels are a lucrative and sought after IP for film franchises, so taking a stake in this massive industry is a strategic investment for Le Vision Pictures that will allow us to offer films that are both appealing and relevant to audiences globally.”
The deal is the latest example of a Chinese media giant partnering with a U.S. production company to make English-language features.
Just last week, Chinese movie studio Bona Film Group announced at $235 million investment in The Seelig Group (TSG Entertainment Finance), the financier behind a slate of six live action tentpoles from 20th Century Fox, including The Martian. On Nov. 4, Beijing media mogul Bruno Wu unveiled a fund that will see his Sun Seven Stars entertainment conglomerate and Chinese online financial service platform Yucheng Group invest $1.6 billion in U.S. film and TV projects.
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San Sebastian Film Festival