Netflix has nabbed the international rights to Chinese box office sensation Is & Them.
The film, which marks the directorial debut of award-winning actress René Liu, started its theatrical run in China and is currently at the top of the country’s box office chart with close to 200 million USD in 10 days – making first-time director René Liu the highest-grossing female director for Chinese language films.
Us & Them follows the love story of Lin Jianqing (Jing Boran) and Fang Xiaoxiao (Zhou Dongyu) spanning over a decade. The two first meet and fall in love on the train back home for Chinese New Year, struggle as a couple and eventually lead to breakup. 10 years later, they reunite on a flight home. Performed by heartthrob Jing Boran and rising star Zhou Dongyu, the story has clearly resonated with many people, and Netflix is hoping to find the same is true around the world.
“At Netflix we believe great stories transcend borders. We are always in search for great content that touches the audience’s hearts and we are thrilled to bring a beautiful film like Us & Them to the service.” says Rob Roy, Vice President, Content (Asia) at Netflix.
The box office total has been disputed by some, who have criticised the distributor for offering discounted tickets to boost its success. Nonetheless, the deal marks a big global leap for the first-time filmmaker. The project began as a short story written by Liu, a singer-songwriter who has won numerous acting awards throughout Asia, including Best Actress twice at the Asia-Pacific Film Festival. Eventually, she decided to bring that story to life on screen.
“We sincerely present my first film as a director to the world,” says Liu.
Producer Zhang Yi Bai adds that they are “more than happy” that the film will be available on Netflix, which they describe as “the best way to reach every corner of the globe”.
Us and Them is available on Netflix UK, as part of an £8.99 monthly subscription.