Shanghai Media Group, BBC Unveil First Official China-U.K. Feature Co-Production

'Hannibal Rising' director Peter Webber and a Chinese helmer to be announced later will make the documentary with the working title 'Earth: One Amazing Day.'

BBC Earth Films, which is part of BBC Worldwide, and China''s Shanghai Media Group's production arm SMG Pictures on Wednesday unveiled a partnership to co-produce a feature documentary with the working title Earth: One Amazing Day, the first feature to be made under the U.K.-China co-production treaty. ‎

The doc will be directed by British filmmaker Peter Webber (Girl with a Pearl Earring, Emperor, Hannibal Rising) together with a Chinese director to be announced later.

The film is the official sequel to Earth (2007), which BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of U.K. public broadcaster BBC, says is the second-highest grossing nature documentary ever released. The new doc will "tell the story of one extraordinary day in the life of our amazing planet, celebrating the billions of real-life dramas that occur in the natural world every single day," BBC Worldwide said.

Slated for theatrical release in 2017, the film "will use the latest innovations in film technology to bring audiences an unforgettable cinematic experience," the company said. SMG Pictures will distribute it on the Chinese mainland.

The deal will be formally signed at a Wednesday ceremony in London by Wang Jianjun, director-general and president of SMG, and Paul Dempsey, president, global markets at BBC Worldwide. The signing ceremony will take place at a creative showcase as part of the official Chinese state visit to the U.K.

"I am delighted that SMG Pictures will be the co-producer of the first feature film to be produced under the landmark U.K. and China film co-production treaty," said Wang. "This milestone event will act as a bridge between Sino-UK cultural exchanges and set up a new model for Sino-U.K. collaboration."

BBC Earth Films was formed in 2010 to create "cinematic events that would bring the wonder of nature into movie theaters."

Tim Davie, CEO of BBC Worldwide, said about the co-production and a plan to screen an upcoming 90-minute special of BBC hit drama Sherlock in Chinese theaters: "Today’s announcements herald an exciting new collaboration between the Chinese and British creative industries. There is a keen appetite in China for premium British content and creating two new cinematic experiences in partnership with SMG Pictures is a landmark moment for two of our biggest brands, Sherlock and BBC Earth."