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The film “Three-Body Problem” in preparation with Zhang Yimou directing

The film “Three-Body Problem” in preparation with Zhang Yimou directing
The film “Three-Body Problem” in preparation with Zhang Yimou directing


Liu Cixin's bestselling science fiction book The three body problem returns home to China to get another screen adaptation. Zhang Yimou, arguably China's most revered living filmmaker, is set to direct a Chinese-language feature film based on the novel, it was revealed at a forum at the Shanghai International Film Festival on Sunday.

In Shanghai, Wang Changtian, president of major local studio Beijing Enlight Media, said his company was in the early stages of developing the project, China's official Xinhua news agency reported. Three-Body Universe Cultural Development Co., a subsidiary of Yoozoo Pictures and copyright holder of the book and related media, also confirmed that the project was in the works.

News of Zhang's involvement in a Chinese version of the beloved sci-fi saga lit up Chinese social media on Monday. The three body problemCixin's first book Memory of Earth's past trilogy, has given birth to several adaptations on different media since its release in 2014 – with decidedly mixed success. A Chinese-language film adaptation of the book directed by Fanfan Zhang was never completed, but a Chinese television adaptation by Tencent, titled Three bodiesarrived on screen in 2023 and premiered on Peacock earlier this year.

In the West, the best-known adaptation, of course, is Netflix's big-budget version, revamped into 3 Body Problemand directed by Alexander Woo and Game Of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and DB Weiss. The American version was considered a global success, with Netflix renewing it for a second and third season that will complete the showrunners' vision of the books' full story. But in China, reaction to the Netflix version has been decidedly mixed, with criticism ranging from the diversity of the series' key players, most of them non-Chinese – a Chinese state media editorial attacked the adaptation calling it “American cultural hegemony” created under the guise of diversity. – to some of the liberties that were taken with Liu Cixin's beloved story. But many in China – where Netflix is ​​blocked and piracy is the only way to access the series – have also undeniably enjoyed the series, as many exchanges on social media have praised its scale and faithfulness to the spirit novels (a social media post of State World Time one news outlet later accused the foreign press of exaggerating negative reactions to the show in order to inflame political tensions and portray Chinese viewers as unreasonably nationalist). Media property Three Body Problem has also been the subject of international intrigue for all the wrong reasons: In a shocking turn of events, a disgruntled Three Body Universe employee in 2020 murdered Yoozoo founder and CEO Lin Qi , who was credited with directing numerous film adaptations of the book, including the Netflix version.

Amid this complicated milieu around the various adaptations, no figure would be considered a safer pair of hands among Chinese fans than Zhang. A key figure in the fifth generation of Chinese filmmakers, he is appreciated by Chinese and foreign moviegoers for his films.Raise the red lantern,Red sorghum, Live, hero And House of the Flying Daggers. He also conducted the stunning opening and closing ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics.

In recent years, however, its output has been aimed directly – and successfully – at the Chinese moviegoer. Over the past year and a half, the 72-year-old director has released three films – little seen outside China – that have collectively grossed $1.15 billion at home. His recent period comedy thriller, Full river red, produced by Huanxi Media, was the highest-grossing Chinese film of 2023 with a staggering box office of $634.6 million. He followed this up with Beijing crime drama Enlight Pictures. Under the Light, also released in 2023, which grossed $190 million. And it was back around the start of 2024 with the release of the Chinese Lunar New Year comedy-drama. Section 20, produced again by Enlight and grossing $323.6 million. One genre that Zhang has yet to tackle in his nearly 40-year film career is futuristic sci-fi – and that's about to change.




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