Netflix has picked up international rights to “The Yin Yang Master” a film that is one of the big seven tentpole titles that will open in mainland Chinese cinemas on Friday and compete for Lunar New Year holiday audiences.
Netflix acquired distribution rights in the rest of the world ex-mainland China from Huayi Brothers Media (“The Eight Hundred”).
The fantasy movie is a game-to-film adaptation of “Onmyoji” directed by Li Weiran (“Love Will Tear Us Apart,” “Welcome to Shamatown”) and starring Chen Kun (“Mojin: The Lost Legend”) and Zhou Xun (“Cloud Atlas,” “Painted Skin”).
It should not be confused with another film with a similar title “The Yin-Yang Master: Dream of Eternity” that ultimately draws on the same source material. The latter is the first element of a two-part, book-to-film adaptation, directed by Guo Jingming (“Tiny Times”). Netflix acquired rights to the Guo title from sales agency Fortissimo Films ahead of the film’s mainland China release on Dec. 25. It earned some $75 million in three weeks on release, but its career was dogged by accusations that scenes had been plagiarized.
Li’s version is skewing strongly towards a female audience, according to ticketing agency Maoyan. The firm reports that the film has already logged some $3 million of advanced ticket sales.
Netflix provided a synopsis: “In ‘The Yin Yang Master,’ the world is on the verge of a devastating war with the monsters who are coming back to retrieve the Scaling Stone. Yin Yang Master Qingming (Chen Kun)’s life is in danger and he travels to different worlds to prepare for the upcoming assaults. On his journey, Qingming finds that the key to all the calamities is embracing his hybrid identity of both human and monster. We see Chen Kun and Zhou Xun’s characters Qingming and Bai Ni in a relationship. William Chan plays Ci Mu, portrays a sophisticated character that transforms from good to evil.”
The film was produced by Chen Kuo-fu and Chang Chia-lu who previously collaborated on multiple feature films, including “Painted Skin: The Resurrection,” and Huayi’s “Detective Dee” franchise.
Other key credits on the film include: Yoshihito Akatsuka (“Journey to the West: The Demons Strike Back,” “Kill Bill,” “Seediq Bale”) as art director; Japan’s Shigeru Umebayashi (“In the Mood for Love,” “The Grandmaster”) as music composer; and Golden Horse Awards and Hong Kong Film Awards winner Nicky Li (“Shock Wave 2,” “Wolf Warriors”) as action choreographer.