Alibaba Pictures Group, the movies division of Chinese e-commerce giant, has acquired film rights to “Warriors,” a series of books about four clans of warring feral cats.
The deal was sealed at the Frankfurt Book Fair with U.K.-based fiction packager Working Partners and its parent company Coolabi.
The books, which have sold over 30 million copies, are written by Erin Hunter, a pseudonym for the writing team of Kate Cary, Cherith Baldry and Victoria Holmes.
They were first published by HarperCollins in the U.S. in 2003, and have been licensed in 35 languages around the world. HarperCollins plans to publish a further eight “Warriors” titles over the next two years.
“Alibaba Pictures is planning to turn ‘Warriors’ into a film franchise that will bring to life the spectacular animal and jungle worlds depicted in the novels, using world-leading visual effects,” said APG president Zhang Wei.
The “Warriors” stories follow the growth of an intrepid cat named Rusty, who ventures into a mysterious forest where he befriends a group of wild cats. Rusty joins ThunderClan as an apprentice warrior and over an epic saga ultimately transforms into the clan’s leader Firestar.
Earlier this month Alibaba Pictures announced that it would be acquiring an unspecified minority stake in Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Partners and that the two companies would form a strategic partnership to co-produce and finance films for global and Chinese audiences.
They also expect to collaborate on the marketing, distribution and merchandising of Amblin Partners films in China. Alibaba Pictures will have the option to co-finance Amblin Partners films worldwide.
Alibaba Pictures sees itself as a technology-driven, diversified film group that ranges from production investment through to distribution and ticketing.
Its Hollywood investments to date include as “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows,” “Star Trek Beyond” and “Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation.” In Asia APG is involved with the production of movies such as “Ferry Man,” “Three Lives Three Worlds Ten Miles of Peach Blossom,” “Ao Jiao Yu Pian Jian,” and Korea’s “Real.”