Chinese streaming firm, iQIYI is to release a virtual reality version of “The Knight of Shadows,” the Jackie Chan-starring film that will launch in conventional theaters at Chinese New Year. It is pitched as a family-friendly costume fantasy.
The 23-minute VR version will be available for viewing at Digital Domain Space VR cinemas across China. The tailor-made VR film will provide viewers a wholly immersive experience of “The Knight of Shadows” movie’s demon-filled world.
The movie plot is loosely based on classic novel “Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio,” by Qing Dynasty short story writer Pu Songling. In the adaptation, Pu is played by Chan, and embarks on adventures that involve solving mysteries and battling demons. The film was directed by Yan Jia, with Ethan Ruan and Zhong Chuxi also starring.
“Knight” is presented by iQIYI Pictures, the film production and investment arm of streaming leader iQIYI, Chan’s Sparkle Roll Media, and Golden Shore Films & Television Studio, with sales handled by Hong Kong’s Golden Network.
IQIYI pitches “Knight” as an example of its platform’s ability to turn content into franchises. “Leveraging iQIYI’s rich experience in adapting its own literature IP across multiple entertainment formats, the valuable IP of ‘The Knight of Shadows’ will be used by iQIYI in formats including feature films, VR films, online dramas, anime and more,” the company said. The company has diversified away from pure-play VoD into activities ranging from operating mini-theaters to selling movie tickets.
“Knight” will be released in Chinese cinemas on Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019, the first day of the Chinese New Year season, and is expected to play on some 8,000 screens, iQIYI said. Thanks to Golden Network’s sales effort, it will also release around the same time in Vietnam, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar and Brunei.
“With a world-class cast, richly imagined production and family-friendly comic themes, we believe this this film will succeed in drawing diverse crowds and delighting parents, grandparents and children alike,” said Ya Ning, president of iQIYI Pictures.