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Netflix Buys China’s Disputed Box Office Champion ‘Us And Them’

Netflix has picked up multi-territory rights to “Us and Them” a Chinese romance that is currently topping the China box office.

The film is the directorial debut of Taiwanese actress Rene Liu. It features male heartthrob Jing Boran and rising female star Zhou Dongyu in a story of strangers who meet on a train as they head home for the holidays.

Appropriately enough, “Us and Them” was released in time for the May Day holiday. It has now earned $191 million after nine days on release.

That box office total has been disputed as the distributor-producer Maoyan has been accused of selling deeply discounted tickets and inflating its success. The producers of another film “Screaming Live” are now reported to be suing Maoyan for unfair competition, alleging that their film was unable to secure enough screens, due to Maoyan’s tactics. As well as being producer of the film, Maoyan is also one of the country’s two leading online ticket vendors.

That local dispute is unlikely to worry Netflix, which is not allowed to operate a streaming service in China. Instead, the streaming giant is expected to release “Us and Them” later this year across the entirety of its network in the rest of the world.

Netflix is also set as the global distributor outside China of upcoming animation film “Over The Moon,” being directed by Glen Keane, and produced at Pearl Studios, the wholly Chinese-owned company that was previously called Oriental DreamWorks, and was a joint venture between DreamWorks Animation and China Media Capital.

Netflix has previously struck a licensing deal with leading Chinese streaming platform iQIYI, that sees some of its original series play in the Middle Kingdom.

The rights sale was first reported by The Hollywood Reporter.

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