With the first weekend at the box office coming to a close for Fantastic Beasts, producer David Heyman has made the timely announcement that he will be producing the upcoming Chinese-British film adaptation of the British young adult book series Warriors for the powerhouse Chinese film company Alibaba Pictures Group. The announcement was made at an event in Beijing at the British Embassy.
The Warrior book series, about four warring factions of cats, have sold over 30 million copies worldwide since their release in 2003. They are written under the pseudonym ‘Erin Hunter’ (while they are actually written collaboratively by Kate Cary, Cherith Baldry, Tui Sutherland, and editor Victoria Holmes). There are six series, which each are to contain six books, as well an nine spin-off books, and a manga comic series. Within the series there are four primary ‘clans’: ThunderClan, ShadowClan, WindClan, and RiverClan, whose members deal with topics such as war, politics, religion, and romance. The series has been especially popular in China, hence why Alibaba secured the film rights last month.
Although Heyman is only signed on for one film, given the amount of material available, he and Alibaba have expressed hopes to make the series a franchise.
According to Variety, Heyman says that the ‘Warriors’ concept is unlike some Western/Chinese collaborations where “you feel the marriage is forced… something that is just done because you want Chinese money. This is such a perfect Chinese-British story because its values are universal…. There’s more that unites us than divides us”.
This is such a perfect Chinese-British story because its values are universal…. There’s more that unites us than divides us.
As there is not yet a script, the film is reportedly not set to be in any specific language yet.
Heyman, most well-known for producing all eight films of the Harry Potter films, was nominated for an Oscar in 2014 for producing Alfonso Cuaron’s award-winning Gravity. Given that his parents were both established British producers, and that Heyman himself attended Harvard University, it is no surprise that his background and initiative has found such success for his projects over the last decade. Heyman is also currently working on a new Willy Wonka adaptation with Warner Bros.
Alibaba Pictures Group (which was created as a film unit for parent company Alibaba in 2014) will release its first film See You Tomorrow in China next month (to be called The Ferryman when internationally released). The film company recently made a deal with Stephen Speilberg’s production company Amblin to fund projects aimed at Chinese audiences.