Chinese production firm Aim Media has licensed the North American rights of director Yang Lina’s “Spring Tide” to distributor China Lion. Smart Cinema, the digital venture by former Wanda executive Jack Gao, has also bought the rights to screen the film on its platform in South Korea.
Yang is an independent documentary maker turned feature film director who is making a trilogy of films about women. “Spring Tide” is the second in that series. It tells a story of family dysfunction in which a woman must deal with the competing demands of her daughter and mother as they all live together in a small apartment. Featuring an all-female cast and starring Hao Lei (known for her work in Lou Ye’s films, including “Summer Palace”), it debuted in competition at the Shanghai International Film Festival last year.
Aim Media had intended for the film to screen theatrically sometime between March and May, but when the coronavirus shuttered cinemas, it moved the title straight to streaming. It debuted online on streamer iQIYI on May 16.
Founded in 2012 and led by “Spring Tide” producer Li Yaping, Aim Media focuses on feature-length film development, film financing and production, with a particular interest in sourcing foreign IP for adaptation in China. Its previous works include the 2015 Angelababy-starring comedy “Running Man,” which grossed $68.5 million, and the 2016 Andy Lau-starring action film “Mission Milano,” which grossed $37.7 million. Li was also a producer on the 2014 rom-com “Beijing Love Story,” which grossed $65.3 million.
Aim currently has in its arsenal two other theatrical films gunning for a release this summer — if Chinese cinemas ever reopen. They are: “Thrive as Grass,” a coming-of-age story about college students adapted from a best-selling novel, co-produced with Tencent Pictures; and “Warm Hugs,” a remake of the 2014 Korean rom-com “Plan Man” starring and directed by Chang Yuan (“Hello Mr. Billionaire”).
It also has three feature films and one web series in development. These include: rom-com “Single Ladies in Beijing,” which began production in May and tells the story of three independent women looking for love in the capital; a remake of French film “My Best Friend,” originally directed by Patrice Leconte and starring Daniel Auteuil, which hopes to shoot toward end of the year; and “In the Land of Blood and Flowers,” a remake co-produced with Tencent Pictures of the popular Mao-era 1963 musical film “Visitors on the Icy Mountain.” That film is about Xinjiang, a controversial northwest border region in which China has currently detained around a million ethnic minorities in re-education camps, according to rights groups. Aim says their remake tells “the untold story behind the liberation of Xinjiang.”
Aim is also working on a remake of Spanish crime thriller series “Sé Quién Eres,” or “I Know Who You Are,” which it plans to release in the fourth quarter of this year.