Chinese TV producer Linmon Media struck a decidedly international tone during the presentation of its 2023-24 slate at FilMart, with presenters speaking about their Chinese-language projects in only English and Korean, and handing out sleek project literature in multiple languages.
Apart from a slate of romance, medical and crime dramas targeted at domestic audiences, the studio is actively remaking its hit female-led contemporary drama “Nothing but Thirty” in Thailand, Indonesia and Hong Kong, having previously licensed the remake rights to Korean pay TV network JTBC.
The drama, which follows the lives of three women as they transition from their 20s into their 30s, is emblematic of the Linmon slate, which is heavy on female-centric contemporary romance dramas.
In exclusive comments to Variety, Linmon Media co-founder Zhou Yuan drew a clear line between franchising and co-producing localized versions of their titles.
“We received a lot of demand for not only distribution rights but also remake opportunity [for “Nothing but Thirty”] when Netflix acquired the Chinese version for its Korean territories. [Korean producer] JTBC contacted us after the show to see if they can acquire the remake rights. So we made a deal with JTBC. Then Vietnam TV also acquired the format rights,“ said Zhou.
“So we started thinking we could do the remakes ourselves. We got very positive feedback from VIU and we decided to co-produce together. We come to the game as an IP provider but also as one of the largest studios in China. VIU can handle the Hong Kong distribution themselves but we spilt the rest of the markets.”
One attraction is the lower cost of production in other territories. According to Zhou, the high cost of talent in the Chinese market means the budgets are between five and 10 times that of a corresponding Thai production, depending on the cast that has been packaged.