James Franco's Sci-Fi Thriller 'Future World' Sells to China (Exclusive)

James Franco_In Dubious Battle Premiere - Getty - H 2017
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Beijing-based Phoenix Legend Films and Road Pictures also have picked up the China rights to 'Anon,' Andrew Niccol's upcoming film starring Clive Owen and Amanda Seyfried.

James Franco's forthcoming sci-fi thriller Future World has sold to Beijing-based Phoenix Legend Film for distribution in China.

Phoenix Legend also has partnered with Chinese film company Road Pictures to acquire the Chinese distribution rights to Anon, a sci-fi thriller directed by Andrew Niccol and starring Clive Owen and Amanda Seyfried.

Established in 2010, Phoenix Legend Films is a subsidiary of the state-owned publishing group Phoenix Publishing & Media. The company has released Chinese titles such as Never Say Goodbye, and it assisted on the local import and distribution of Mel Gibson's Hacksaw Ridge, which earned $62 million in China last year.

Future World is co-directed by Franco and Bruce Cheung. Franco also stars opposite Milla Jovovich, Lucy Liu, Snoop Dogg, Method Man and Suki Waterhouse.

Set decades into the future, the film follows a young prince from "the Oasis" as he goes on a daring journey through the violent and desolate world of "the Wastelands" looking for a cure for his dying mother. Along the way, the prince meets Ash, the last of the sentient robots that decimated mankind. 

The post-apocalyptic film is based on an original short story by Franco, with the screenplay adapted by Cheung and Jay Davis. 

Anon, written and directed by Niccol (Gattaca, The Truman Show), is set in a near-future world where all private memories are recorded and crime has almost ceased to exist. In trying to solve a series of unsolved murders, Sal Friedland (Owen) stumbles onto a young woman (Seyfried) who appears to have subverted the system and disappeared. Netflix has the rights to the film in the U.S.

"Anon is a perfect example of the level of films that Road Pictures want to help foster and bring to the Chinese market: a combination of visionary filmmaking and commercial entertainment,” said Road Pictures founder Cai Gongming.

Established in 2014, Road Pictures debut slate includes The Diamond Age, an adaptation of Neal Stephenson’s cult sci-fi novel, produced in association with Lauren Selig, Barry Levine and Mike Bundlie and scripted by Karl Gajdusek (Oblivion, Stranger Things; Robots, a sci-fi comedy written by Anthony Hines (Borat) and Casper Christensen, produced in association with Stephen Hamel (Passengers, Replicas); and Straw, an action film written by Kurt Wimmer (Total Recall, Salt) produced in association with Jason Statham and Steve Chasman