China’s Joy Pictures Announces Two New Animated Films at Cannes

China’s Joy Pictures is selling 10 Chinese titles at the Cannes market this year, including two of its own animated features scheduled for summer 2022.

The shingle, which began as a marketer and distributor best-known in its early days for bringing “La La Land” to China, has recently shifted its focus to the production and sale of animation.

“The Legend of Hei,” which it co-financed, grossed $45 million in China last September and screened at Annecy in earlier this month. A sequel is currently in script stage.

When it comes to production, the Joy is still finding its stride. Four animated titles announced in November at the American Film Market have had their expected release dates pushed back due to COVID-19, which delayed production.

Meanwhile, it is announcing two new titles. “The King of Fighters: Awaken” is a 3D feature-length adaptation of Japanese firm SNK’s popular fighting game “King of Fighters.” An English-language live-action film based on the game was released direct-to-DVD in 2010.

Joy Pictures is partnering with Jiangsu-based firm Original Force and iDragon Creative Studio on the film, in which two main characters from the popular game seek to save a newly introduced character — a young boy — from an evil god.

A second title, “Candy,” is a more family-oriented, fantasy stop-motion film being made in collaboration with Hangzhou-based studio Steamworks. It tells the story of a young girl who enjoys making sweets. She falls deathly ill and ends up becoming friends with a hapless goblin who is sent to collect her soul.

At Cannes, Joy is also selling two children’s titles from Jiangxi Kaitian Cartoon and two Chinese arthouse films: Yang Heng’s 2017 Berlin Panorama title “Ghost in the Mountains,” and “Summer Can Wait,” the first feature from director Fei Yuzhu, which tells the story of a young Chinese ballerina living abroad in London.