By AMID AMIDI
It used to be that American audiences might have to wait months, even years, to see foreign animated features on the bigscreen, but the dynamics of film distribution are changing. Well Go USA Entertainment announced today that it will release the Chinese box office phenomenon Ne Zha a little over a month after its debut in China.
Ne Zha will open on IMAX 3D theaters across North America on August 29th followed by a nationwide expansion on September 6. The Plano, Texas-based distributor Well Go USA hasn’t released much animation in the past, but it is a proven distributor of genre, indie, and foreign films with plentiful experience releasing Chinese action films in North America.
Produced by Beijing Enlight Media, the film was written and directed by first-time director Yang Yu (aka Jiao Zi). Based on classical Chinese legends, here is the official synopsis:
A young boy, Ne Zha, born from a heavenly pearl by the Primeval Lord of Heaven, Yuanshi Tianzun. Born with unique powers, he finds himself as an outcast who is hated and feared. Destined by prophecy to bring destruction to the world, the young boy must choose between good and evil in order to break the shackles of fate and become the hero.
The film’s story and themes have resonated with Chinese moviegoers, propelling its box office to $565 million — and counting. Some of the records it has already set: the highest-grossing Chinese animated feature of all-time, the highest-grossing non-U.S. animated feature of all-time, the third-highest grossing Chinese film of all-time, the highest-grossing animated IMAX feature in China, and the second highest-grossing local language IMAX feature in China.
From its China release alone, Ne Zha is currently the 8th-biggest worldwide grosser of 2019, surpassing global totals for films like Pokémon Detective Pikachu, Alita: Battle Angel, and Godzilla: King of the Monsters.