China’s Alibaba Pictures has signed a deal with UK-based fiction packager Working Partners and its parent company Coolabi Group to secure the film rights for Warriors, a book series about four clans of warring feral cats.
Written by Erin Hunter, a pseudonym for writing team Kate Cary, Cherith Baldry and Victoria Holmes, Warriors follows the growth of an intrepid cat named Rusty, who ventures into a mysterious forest where he befriends a group of wild cats. Rusty joins ThunderClan as an apprentice warror and over an epic saga ultimately transforms into the clan’s leader Firestar.
The book series was first published by HarperCollins in the U.S. in 2003 and has sold more than 30 million copies worldwide, becoming one of the most popular children’s series today. It’s been licensed in 35 languages around the world. HarperCollins will also publish a further eight Warriors titles over the next two years. Deal was made at the Frankfurt Book Fair.
“Alibaba Pictures is planning to turn Warriors into a film franchise that will bring to life the spectacular animal and jungle worlds depicted in the novels, using world-leading visual effects,” said Zhang Wei, president of Alibaba Pictures in a statement.
Alibaba Pictures has been making significant moves into the global film industry as of recent. Earlier this month, the company took a minority equity stake in Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Partners, which sees the Chinese e-commerce giant team with Amblin to co-produce and finance films for global and Chinese audiences.
It made its first investment in a global tentpole title with Paramount/Skydance’s Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation last year and has since put financing into titles such as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out Of The Shadows, Star Trek Beyond and Korean title REAL.