×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

STX Boards Alibaba Pictures’ High-Profile ‘Warriors’ (EXCLUSIVE)

STX Entertainment has come on board to co-produce “Warriors,” one of the highest-profile movies being developed by Alibaba Pictures. “Harry Potter” producer David Heyman and STX board member Gigi Pritzker will produce the live action-and-CGI hybrid, which is based on a series of young-adult books and targeted at children and the YA crowd.

Award-winning Hollywood pair Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger have signed on as screenwriters. Their credits include the three installments of “Kung Fu Panda,” “The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water,” and “Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel.”

“Warriors” is based on books by Erin Hunter, the collective pseudonym of three U.K.-based writers – Kate Cary, Cherith Baldry, and Tui Sutherland – along with an editor, Victoria Holmes. Published by Harper Collins since 2003, the books feature clans of forest-dwelling cats caught up in stories of adventure, forbidden love, and faith.

STX and Alibaba Pictures, the film offshoot of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, are no strangers. They recently announced that they would co-produce and co-finance sci-fi action film “Steel Soldiers,” to be produced by Robert Zemeckis.

Heyman joined the “Warriors” project in November 2016. At the time, there were six series of “Warrior” novels, which were each to have six books when completed. There were also nine spinoff books, known as super editions, as well as an English-language manga series previously distributed by Tokyopop.

Alibaba Pictures bought out film rights to the entire oeuvre, immediately sparking talk about a movie franchise. Heyman cautioned against over-enthusiasm and said the primary task would be to deliver an interesting and worthy first film before thoughts could turn to franchises.

“Alibaba represents quality and the best values. When I first came to China a few years ago, I sought them out,” Heyman told Variety at the time. “What we discovered is that Alibaba is interested in telling stories that are universally relatable.”

He described “Warriors” as “a perfect Chinese-British project. The values [in the books] are British, but they are also Chinese….There’s more that unites us than divides us.”

STX is the studio founded by Robert Simonds. From the outset it has sought connections between Hollywood and China. Among its investors are TPG Growth, Hony Capital, PCCW and Chinese social media giant Tencent. It recently filed documents paving the way for an IPO in Hong Kong.

The company was behind Jackie Chan- and Pierce Brosnan-starring thriller “The Foreigner,” one of the very few recently successful East West co-productions. STX recently boarded Tencent’s “Zombie Brother” with Channing Tatum heading an adaptation of a Tencent games and comics property.

Alibaba Pictures, which has its own share listings in Hong Kong and Singapore, now has three divisions: Internet-based promotion and distribution, which is dominated by its online ticketing business, and film distribution; content production, covering film and TV series; and integrated development, or merchandise sales.

It has taken stakes in a handful of Hollywood movies including “Star Trek: Beyond” and “Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation,” and has an undisclosed minority stake in Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Partners.

More Film

  • 'The Apollo' Review: A Legendary Theater

    Tribeca Film Review: 'The Apollo'

    You should never take for granted a documentary that fills in the basics with flair and feeling. Especially when the basics consist of great big gobs of some of the most revolutionary and exhilarating popular art ever created in this country. Roger Ross Williams’ documentary “The Apollo,” which kicked off the Tribeca Film Festival on [...]

  • Playwright Mark Medoff author of "Children

    Mark Medoff, 'Children of a Lesser God' Playwright, Dies at 79

    Mark Medoff, the playwright who wrote Tony Award-winning play “Children of a Lesser God,” died Tuesday in Las Cruces, N.M. He was 79. His daughter Jessica Medoff Bunchman posted news of his death on Facebook, and the Las Cruces Sun-News attributed the cause to cancer. “Children of a Lesser God” starred John Rubinstein and Phyllis Frelich [...]

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    Interscope Films Relaunches With Full Slate at Tribeca (EXCLUSIVE)

    The Interscope record label’s interest in film/music crossover isn’t exactly a secret: With hit companion albums for “A Star Is Born,” “Black Panther” and “La La Land,” they’ve seemed to own the soundtrack space at times in recent years. And the company hasn’t completely made a secret of its desire to move into film production. [...]

  • Avengers: Endgame

    'Avengers: Endgame': Fans and Theaters Assemble for Biggest Marvel Movie Ever

    For San Diego resident Shawn Richter, “Avengers: Endgame” is more than the conclusion to a monumental period in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. As the West Coast branch chair of Avengers Initiative, a cosplay charity that raises money for causes like the Ronald McDonald House Children’s Charities, the comics of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby are [...]

  • Jillian Bell appears in Brittany Runs

    Amazon's 'Brittany Runs a Marathon' Sets Summer Release

    “Brittany Runs a Marathon” will be rushing to theaters on Aug. 23. Amazon Studios dated the comedy on Wednesday. The pic, starring Jillian Bell (“Rough Night,” “22 Jump Street”), won the audience award at the Sundance Film Festival. The flick follows the titutal Brittany, who decides to run around New York City in order to [...]

  • Lionsgate Hires Lynn Whitney in Marketing

    Lionsgate Hires Former Warner Bros. Exec Lynn Whitney

    Lionsgate announced Wednesday that Lynn Whitney will become head of worldwide paid media, partnerships, promotions and consumer products. Whitney was formerly the executive VP of worldwide media at Warner Bros.   In her new role, Whitney will build out media campaigns for movies like Seth Rogen and Charlize Theron’s romantic comedy “Long Shot.” “I am [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content