A Chinese remake of Sony Pictures Television’s psychological thriller “Chosen” will begin airing in China and Taiwan on leading streaming platform iQIYI from this weekend. The show has been picked up by Netflix and will be seen in the rest of the world later in 2018.
The 2016 original saw a family caught up in a deadly game and manipulated by a mysterious player. The Chinese version sticks with largely the same story but localizes the setting and adapts the characters.
Presented in three episodes and made for $4.6 million (RMB30 million), the new series is directed by Australia’s Tony Tilse. He has TV credits including HBO Asia’s “Serangoon Road,” and “Grace” and Nine Network’s “Underbelly.”
Co-producers of the Chinese “Chosen” include iQIYI, Australia’s Playmaker Media, and Sony Pictures Television through Huaso Film & TV Digital Production, Sony Pictures’ joint venture in China. The mixed Asian and Western cast includes Taiwan-born Blue Lan Cheng-lung and Deng Jiajia, as well as Sam Hayden-Smith and Nathaniel Kelly.
“The co-production, a ground-breaking cooperation between iQIYI and Sony Pictures Television, is the first Chinese online three-part drama adapted from an American drama,” said Dai Huang, chief representative and VP of distribution and production at SPT.
The sale to Netflix “is a clear demonstration of confidence by iQIYI and its partners in the show’s quality and their strength in promoting original online films overseas,” said Yang Xianghua, iQIYI’s senior VP, at a launch event in Beijing. “We hope our new business model and innovation in distribution will lead to more cooperation with other global partners in the future and enable more premium content to be seen worldwide.”
Backed by Baidu, China’s leading search engine company, iQIYI has grown to become one of the top three streaming video companies in China. In the past three years it has pioneered original content production as a means to encourage users to switch from advertising-supported viewing to subscription-based consumption. Yang confirmed that all three episodes would be available simultaneously for binge viewing by paying subscribers.