The Wandering Earth 2, the sequel to the Chinese sci-fi blockbuster that earned $700 million in 2019, is charting a course for North America, thanks to a distribution deal inked by distributor Well Go USA. The specialty label has acquired the domestic theatrical rights to the film and set it up for a day-and-date release with China on Jan. 22, the first day of the Chinese New Year. Well Go says it will launch The Wandering Earth 2 in over 125 North American theaters, including 30 Imax screens.
The Wandering Earth 2 is a prequel to the 2019 hit film and like its predecessor, it is based on the short story of the same name by Chinese sci-fi author Liu Cixin, world renowned for his best-selling novel The Three Body Problem. The film is again written and directed by Frant Gwo (better known in China as Guo Fan), with Chinese action hero Wu Jing (Wolf Warrior 2) reprising his starring role and Hong Kong leading man Andy Lau joining as a co-star. Liu is credited as a producer on the film, alongside Chinese hitmaker Song Ge (Wolf Warrior 2, Dying to Survive, The Wandering Earth) as executive producer.
The first The Wandering Earth, which was acquired for all territories outside of China by Netflix, revolved around a rescue mission to save human civilization as the sun approached the end of its life cycle and was set to explode, prompting humanity to build giant engines to propel planet earth outside of the solar system to find a new celestial home. China plays a key leadership role in world affairs in the film and helps drive the survival mission.
The sequels official plot summary reads: “Humans built huge engines on the surface of the earth to find a new home. But the road to the universe is dangerous. In order to save earth, young people once again have to step forward to start a race against time for life and death.”
State-backed China Film Co. is a presenter of the film in tandem with Gwo’s banner Guo Fan Culture and Media and Wu Jing’s company Beijing Dengfeng International Media. As is typical with big Chinese tentpoles, the film also counts over a dozen co-financiers, including major studios Alibaba Pictures, Wanda Media and Huayi Brothers.
The Wandering Earth 2 is currently considered the most anticipated frontrunner for China’s Lunar New Year box office race, which typically sees two or three top titles earn hundreds of millions of dollars during their first week of release. How the severe COVID-19 outbreak currently sweeping China will affect sales during the coming holiday, which begins Jan. 22 and lasts a little over a week, remains a subject of intense speculation within the Chinese industry.
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