Oriental DreamWorks Unveils Chinese Live-Action Slate

SHANGHAIOriental DreamWorks, the joint venture between DreamWorks Animation and a trio of Chinese companies, has unveiled a diversified live-action and animation development slate of third-party content.

The Shanghai-based company has struck development deals with a trio of local Chinese companies, spanning five feature film projects.

This is a significant departure from the company’s previous mission, which was originally focused on in-house developed animated features, such as the now in production “Kung Fu Panda 3.” The change of tack was first signalled by Variety in September last year.

ODW has struck a multi-picture development deal with Dreams of Dragon Pictures, the Chinese company which was previously an investor in the the Wachowski brothers and Tom Tykwer’s “Cloud Atlas.”

The deal includes an untitled historical period epic based on a screenplay by Wang Huiling, who previously wrote “Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon” and whose novel is currently being filmed as “The Crossing” by John Woo.

The DOD agreement also covers a high concept comedy, while a third project is a contemporary martial arts with substantial visual effects and advanced choreography.

Under a separate deal, ODW has pacted with producer and director Teng Hua Tao to create an animated feature based on a classic Chinese folk tale. The updated version is to be directed by Teng and is scripted Ba Yue Chang An (“Hello My Old Times,” “The Stolen Years.”)

In a third deal, ODW will work with producer Zhang Jizhong to come up with an English-language version of “Journey To The West” intended to be accessible to Western audiences.

“The classic adventure story will be transformed into an international action film integrating cutting-edge visual effects technology with an English-language script to bring China’s legendary hero to the world.” said ODW in a statement.

“With this new series of ventures supporting local producers, artists, actors and crew, Oriental DreamWorks will further its objective of creating entertainment in China for China and for export to the rest of the world,” said ODW chief creative officer Joe Aguilar. “These three development deals represent leading local companies that we are proud to partner with.”

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