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Sony Pictures Acquires Chinese Comedy ‘YOLO’ for Global Release

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Sony Pictures has acquired international distribution rights to “YOLO,” a mainland Chinese comedy film that releases in China on Saturday, the first day of the Lunar New Year holiday.

The film is written, directed by and stars Jia Ling, China’s top-grossing female filmmaker. She portrays Le Ying, an unemployed woman in her thirties who still lives with her parents until one day, she meets a boxing coach (portrayed by Lei Jiayin), who just may change her life.

Jia’s first feature was “Hi, Mom,” a heartwarming film in which a young woman, whose mother has been fatally injured in a car accident, travels back to the early 1980s. There, she becomes best friends with the younger version of her mother and is able to work on giving her mother a better life than the first time around.

“Hi, Mom” released at the mainland China box office during the Lunar New Year holiday period three years ago and earned a massive RMB5.41 billion ($750 million at current exchange rates). That made it the world’s top-grossing movie directed by a solo female until it was overtaken by “Barbie” last year.

Sony recently announced it had acquired the English remake rights to “Hi, Mom,” which is currently in development, with Jia executive producing. Escape Artists is producing along with She Wenxin and Laura Kosann adapting the script.

Sony has not yet disclosed its North American or international release strategies for “YOLO.” These may be influenced by matters over the next few days.

The film is one of eight titles that release into the crowded, but highly lucrative, Lunar New Year holiday period in China and is considered one of the three frontrunners to dominate the box office. Based on pre-sales to Friday morning, Chinese ticketing agencies Maoyan and Taopiaopiao point to the film opening in first or second place on Saturday. It will play in regular and Imax theaters in China.

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