BEIJING, April 1, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — iQIYI Inc. (NASDAQ: IQ) (“iQIYI” or the “Company”), an innovative market-leading online entertainment service in China, is pleased to announce that it has partnered with Lajin Entertainment Network Group Limited to co-produce HACHIKO, a Chinese version of the classic Japanese screenplay Hachiko Monogatari.
HACHIKO will be distributed by Hengye Pictures and premiere nationwide on December 31, 2021, making it the first movie to be scheduled for New Year’s Eve 2021. Shooting for HACHIKO has commenced, and is led by director Xu Ang and supervised by Yeh Jufeng.
Set in a local small family, HACHIKO is about human-dog companionship and the importance of family. At HACHIKO‘s announcement ceremony, Gong Yu, the film’s producer and iQIYI Founder and CEO, said that he believes that the film will resonate with audiences through its depiction of the sincere emotional connections between people and animals. Prior to shooting, lead actor Feng Xiaogang already formed a close bond with his four-legged co-stars and at the ceremony, he expressed his appreciation for the dogs ‘cooperation and his participation in such a moving film.
The world-renowned tale explores the touching relationship between an old man and his loyal dog, with the 2009 U.S. remake winning the hearts of global audiences and enhancing the image of Hachi as a cultural symbol. The Chinese version of HACHIKO is based on the Japanese screenplay Hachiko Monogatari written by Kaneto Shindo. After acquiring the rights to produce the adaptation, iQIYI retained the original’s emotional and artistic value while adding some local elements to create a Chinese version. For example, the dog will be played by a Chinese Field Dog named Batong, meaning eight dots, a Mahjong tile.
HACHIKO tells the moving story of Batong, who waits in the same place for his owner, played by Feng, to return ten years after his death.
Besides adapting it for a more local Chinese context, the film also features a star-studded cast and production team. The director has previously helmed highly-acclaimed films such as 12 Citizens and Medical Examiner Dr. Qin. The former was nominated for the Director’s Debut Award at the 30th Golden Rooster Awards and won the Best Film Award in the Contemporary Film section of the 9th Rome International Film Festival. The supervisor, Yeh, has overseen films such as Red Cliff, The Wayward Cloud, and Godspeed. Another highlight is Feng, who takes a leading role for the first time in six years following his performance in 2015’s Mr. Six. In contrast with his image of a Beijing street punk in Mr. Six, in HACHIKO, he plays a kind and warmhearted old man who loves his dog. The female lead, played by Joan Chen, is a candid and fiery mahjong-loving landlady, which also contrasts sharply with the capable police inspector role of her previous movie, Sheep Without a Shepherd.
Crossroad Bistro, Feng’s first directorial effort for a web drama that is also produced by iQIYI- will be exclusively aired on the platform. Among the films produced by iQIYI, Break Through The Darkness, a realistic drama starring Jiang Wu and Zhang Songwen about China’s campaign against gang crime and Hovering Blade, a crime movie featuring Wang Qianyuan and Wang Jingchun, are both expected to hit big screens across the country this year. Moreover, upcoming movies such as PING-PONG OF CHINA, Hello Hero, Raid on the Lethal Zone, Man On The Edge, In Our Prime, The Apprentice of Mensa, and The Big Band have commenced production. HACHIKO and the planned slate of new releases once again demonstrate the Company’s commitment to producing high-quality content across a wide range of genres.
iQIYI, Inc. is an innovative market-leading online entertainment service in China. Its corporate DNA combines creative talent with technology, fostering an environment for continuous innovation and the production of blockbuster content. iQIYI’s platform features highly popular original content, as well as a comprehensive library of other professionally-produced content, partner-generated content and user generated content. The company distinguishes itself in the online entertainment industry by its leading technology platform powered by advanced AI, big data analytics and other core proprietary technologies. iQIYI attracts a massive user base with tremendous user engagement, and has developed a diversified monetization model including membership services, online advertising services, content distribution, live broadcasting, online games, IP licensing, online literature and e-commerce.