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Feature Film

Watch the First Trailer for China’s ‘Little Door Gods’

Beijing’s Light Chaser Animation has unveiled a trailer for its first feature film Little Door Gods, which will open in mainland China cinemas on January 1, 2016, preceded by a 36-city roadshow starting on October 3.

The film asks: What happens to good luck “door god” decorations when no one in contemporary society believes in their spiritual powers anymore? Written and directed by Light Chaser founder Gary Wang, the Chinese web entrepreneur who started the video sharing site Tudou, Little Door Gods aims to boost the standards of locally-produced Chinese feature animation and match the standards of American studio theatrical features.

While the jury is still out on whether it’s up to Western standards, the trailer suggests that it’s one of China’s most technically sophisticated CG features to date, comparing favorably to this summer’s smash hit Monkey King: Hero is Back, which banked over $150 million to become the highest-grossing animated film ever released in China.

Light Chaser has told Cartoon Brew that the studio plans to qualify the film for the feature animation category of this year’s Academy Awards, which would likely make Little Door Gods the first homegrown Chinese animated feature to compete in the category.

At a press conference in Beijing yesterday, Wang and producer Yu Zhou talked about the “artistic craftsmanship” that went into the making of Little Door Gods, making clear that the film is different from other homegrown Chinese animated features, which are typically produced on fast schedules and low budgets compared to their Western counterparts. Wang explained that a team of 160 people spent two-and-a-half years producing Little Door Gods, while the script went through 30 versions of continuous refinement.

Zhou said that the film required 80 million CPU render hours, comparable to American films. Both the music and sound effects were produced in Dolby Atmos, a first for a domestic Chinese movie production. Little Door Gods also marks the first time that a Chinese animation studio has worked with Skywalker Sound.

Wang’s reputation in the tech sector has garnered investment from some of China’s biggest Internet giants, including Baidu and Tencent. The film will be released by Alibaba Pictures, the fledgling film arm of e-commerce giant Alibaba. It is the first time that those three Internet companies — Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent (collectively known as B.A.T.) — have jointly invested in a single film. Other major co-financing partners include China Film and Gewara.

Little Door Gods will begin playing its roadshow on October 3rd in Qingdao, Changchun, Changzhou, Zhengzhou, Kunming, Foshan, and Taiyuan. No American distribution is set at this time.

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  • RCooke

    That looks really amazing. I hope the movie is as fun as the trailer.

  • Gabriel

    China’s getting good at this. I’m glad other countries are doing more animation.

  • http://www.alex-loayza.com/ Chickengirl

    huh. Well the trailer reveals the movie to be something completely different from what I thought it was originally gonna be. For some reason I thought one of the main characters would be the cherry blossom god, but I guess not? The conceptual trailer only showed the fat-comedy relief looking god from behind, and for a few seconds only, who appears to be one of the main characters from this new trailer.

    It certainly looks pretty, but idk, the inclusion of that child character makes me slightly concerned as I usually find little kid characters in animated movies to be annoying as hell, unless they are done right, like in Song of the Sea or most of the Ghibli studio films. Might have to wait for this one to come out to DVD, I doubt it’ll get shown in any theater here in Austin. :/

    • Mightyflog

      Fellow Austinite on Cartoonbrew…cool. Well I was an Austinite and will be next month. I came to Japan for the last 6 months to make anime. THey might show this movie in Alamo Drafthouse.

    • Mightyflog

      Fellow Austinite on Cartoonbrew…cool. Well I was an Austinite and will be next month. I came to Japan for the last 6 months to make anime. THey might show this movie in Alamo Drafthouse.

  • William Bradford

    Looks awesome!

  • Keenan of Dodge

    I really hope this comes to America. End of story

  • Rick Dolishny

    This trailer is full of life, energy, and fantasy. All the things I look for in animation. I hope to see this on a big screen with big sound in North America, or a good quality BluRay.

  • Rick Dolishny

    This trailer is full of life, energy, and fantasy. All the things I look for in animation. I hope to see this on a big screen with big sound in North America, or a good quality BluRay.

  • Jam

    It is sad to see how hard they’re trying to imitate the western style of animation…with so many new markets opening across the globe one would hope to see new styles with new approaches rather then this same vanilla $#1+

  • Jam

    It is sad to see how hard they’re trying to imitate the western style of animation…with so many new markets opening across the globe one would hope to see new styles with new approaches rather then this same vanilla $#1+

  • http://www.elliotelliotelliot.com ElliotCowan

    Great to see that it looks exactly like a CG feature…

  • http://www.elliotelliotelliot.com ElliotCowan

    Great to see that it looks exactly like a CG feature…

  • Jordan Benans-Hillard

    I enjoy how “Little Door Gods” is able to use Chinese mythology to explore contemporary subject mater. Kind of like many of the Ghibli films where mythology mixes with modern society (Not that this film is up to their standards, Just an example). I wish it looked a little less like a Dream Works film though. It can be creatively draining when one culture’s entertainment industry uses another culture’s industry as the bar of success. However this is usually a transitional period. For example, Toei’s Animated feature films looked like they were trying to imitate Disney when they first started, but they eventually led to a more individual style. I just think its good for what it is.

    • heymcdermott

      I too will hope they can make the character design a bit more complex, as they still seem a bit generic to me (however, costumes and setting are great). I will hope if they dub it into English the dialogue will slow down a bit.

  • Jordan Benans-Hillard

    I enjoy how “Little Door Gods” is able to use Chinese mythology to explore contemporary subject mater. Kind of like many of the Ghibli films where mythology mixes with modern society (Not that this film is up to their standards, Just an example). I wish it looked a little less like a Dream Works film though. It can be creatively draining when one culture’s entertainment industry uses another culture’s industry as the bar of success. However this is usually a transitional period. For example, Toei’s Animated feature films looked like they were trying to imitate Disney when they first started, but they eventually led to a more individual style. I just think its good for what it is.

  • OtherDan

    Story looks interesting. They talk too fast though!

  • OtherDan

    Story looks interesting. They talk too fast though!

  • Tim Tran

    it certainly looks pretty, and the story seems to have a great amount of sophistication to it, hopefully more so than Monkey King (that film only picked up at the last minute and decided to jerk your tear ducts out of nowhere, while the rest of the film is extremely loud and obnoxious). I really love the fact that there’ll be 2 kung-fu related animated films next year, with Panda 3 and this one having decent amount of fight scenes.
    tho tbh, i dont find the character designs engaging at all aside from the blossom lady (which somehow has Japanese eyebrows??). every character can be created from Western Animation. seems like they need more time to develop their own styles like how Japan and America did. I really hope there’s less comedy and more heart in this film, considering it’s so hyped up.
    Anyways, good luck for them!

  • Honest_Miss

    I honestly want to watch this.

  • Ben

    That looks really good, little worried about it getting saddled with a “Chinese government is the best!” tacked on bullshit like a lot of chinese movies end up with.

    • Gavin Mouldey

      Yes, and many feel the same way about incessant American nationalism and flag waving in US films.

      • Ben

        As a foreigner to both those countries, it sucks both times, but the chinese stuff usually seems way more forced and over the top then the US stuff does.

  • Ben

    That looks really good, little worried about it getting saddled with a “Chinese government is the best!” tacked on bullshit like a lot of chinese movies end up with.