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EXCLUSIVE: Conqueror Entertainment, the L.A. and Beijing-based production outfit launched by former Legendary Entertainment executive Vasco Xu, has set a Chinese-language adaptation of leading sci-fi author Liu Cixin’s Supernova Era as one of it first projects.
The company is also planning to simultaneously produce an English-language movie and TV series in the U.S., based on the same novel.
Ann Lu is adapting the novel for the Chinese version with Xu, Jane Zheng (The Farewell), Zhao Jilong (The Three-Body Problem) and Kong Ergou (The Crossing) on board as producers. Conqueror Entertainment’s Brian Cheng and Sun Ge will executive produce.
Liu Cixin is best known for Hugo award-winning trilogy, The Three-Body Problem, which is being adapted by Netflix as an English-language series, executive produced by David Benioff & D.B. Weiss (Game Of Thrones). He also wrote novella The Wandering Earth, which has been adapted into two blockbuster Chinese-language movies.
Supernova Era, first published in 2003, follows events after a supernova explosion has showered the earth with lethal radiation, which only children under the age of 13 can recover from. Earth’s adults attempt to teach their children take over responsibly when they prematurely die. But with the creation of a new world order, some societies degrade into savagery, while others attempt to ensure humanity’s survival.
Tor Books published the English-language version of Supernova Era, translated by Joel Martinsen, in 2019.
“The book has captured my interest due to Liu’s imaginative world-building and thought-provoking themes such as the fragility of civilization, the importance of leadership, and the role of technology in shaping society,” said Xu.
“It also raises questions about the nature of power, the relationship between science and morality, and the implications of different forms of administrations. Due to its futuristic setting and the presence of a significant global event at its core, the book has the potential to be adapted into two enthralling productions that would appeal to both the domestic Chinese audience and the global market.”
Xu co-founded Conqueror Entertainment last year in partnership with Cheng, also Executive Director of Hong Kong’s NWS Group, and venture capitalist Sun Ge.
The company says it aims to deliver universal stories based on Asian IP, or with an Asian perspective, to global markets. It is developing a separate Chinese-language slate aimed specifically at the mainland China market.
This dual-track strategy is becoming more common as Sino-U.S. co-productions have become difficult to mount in recent years due to a slowdown in approvals from Chinese authorities. Regulatory issues aside, producers in both the U.S. and China have also discovered that it is difficult to make movies that appeal to both markets.
Xu and Conqueror Entertainment are repped by Laura Reddy at Range Media Partners.