Lulu Wang’s Indie Box Office Breakout ‘The Farewell’ Scores China Theatrical Deal


EXCLUSIVE: Writer-director Lulu Wang’s indie box office breakout The Farewell has scored Chinese distribution via leading local ticketing firm Maoyan Entertainment, a growing entertainment force in the country.

The Sundance hit, which pulled in more than $17M domestically for A24, has been slated for a nationwide theatrical release on November 22nd.

Awkwafina stars in the dramedy about a Chinese family who discovers their grandmother has only a short while left to live and decide to keep her in the dark, scheduling a wedding as an excuse to reunite to say goodbye to their beloved matriarch. It’ll be interesting to see how the story of a Chinese-American culture clash plays in China.

Producers are Big Beach Films’ Daniele Melia, Marc Turtletaub and Peter Saraf, Depth of Field’s Andrew Miano and Chris Weitz, Seesaw’s Jane Zheng, Lulu Wang and Kindred Spirit’s Anita Gou. Endeavor Content negotiated the deal on behalf of the filmmakers.

The film, which currently holds a 99% score on Rotten Tomatoes, was recently nominated for Best Feature, Best Screenplay and Best Actress for Awkwafina at The Gotham Awards.

Growing player Maoyan, one of China’s leading ticketing firms, has been cementing a strong partnership with entertainment giant Tencent over the past 12 months. Maoyan previously bought Tencent-backed ticketing competitor Weying and Tencent was an investor in the company prior to Maoyan’s Hong Kong IPO in January. After the IPO, Tencent controlled 14% of Maoyan shares.

Two days ago Maoyan and Tencent Video announced closer collaboration on the latter’s entertainment platform. As the exclusive ticketing partner for Tencent Video, Maoyan will embed its ticketing platform into Tencent’s video operation, creating a one-stop ticketing service that covers both online and offline consumption. The duo have promised additional collaboration across their businesses.

Earlier this year Maoyan struck a $50M investment in fast-growing Chinese studio Huanxi Entertainment Group.

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