GKIDS Acquires North American Rights to ‘New Gods: Yang Jian’

Animation specialists GKIDS has acquired North American distribution rights for Chinese animated film “New Gods: Yang Jian,” with plans to release the film in theaters early next year.

Directed by Ji Zhao, “Yang Jian” is the second installment in his “New Gods” series of animated fantasy films adapted from Chinese mythology. The series, which began last year with “New Gods: Nezha Reborn,” is produced by Chinese animation studio Light Chaser Animation, which also produced Zhao’s directorial debut “White Snake” in 2019.

“Yang Jian” follows the titular Chinese god, also known as Erlang Shen, who was famous for his truth-seeing eye in the middle of his forehead. Thirteen years after he imprisoned his own sister beneath a mountain, the god works as a bounty hunter, and is hired by a mysterious woman to stop his nephew Chenxiang from obtaining a magical lotus lantern with incredible power. The film was released in Chinese theaters last week, where it beat “Minions: Rise of Gru” to top the box office with a $19.8 million opening weekend.

In addition to presenting the film in its original Mandarin language, GKIDS will also record a new English-language dub of “Yang Jian” and release it in theaters. The deal marks the second collaboration between GKIDS and Light Chaser, after the company distributed “White Snake” in 2019. The first “New Gods” film “Nezha Reborn” received a global release outside of China by Netflix.

“Light Chaser Animation is one of the most exciting CG studios working today, and we are thrilled to continue our relationship on their newest film New Gods: Yang Jian,” GKIDS president David Jesteadt said in a statement. “The film drips with style, bringing a unique and action-packed spin on a classic Chinese story. We can’t wait to share it with American audiences early next year.”

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