American audiences will get a chance to see The Legend of Hei, the Chinese film that topped the box office in its home country and has drawn comparisons to Studio Ghibli. Shout! Studios has acquired all North American rights, in a partnership with France’s Play Big.
The fantasy feature tells the story of a cat demon who strikes out in search of a new home after his forest habitat is destroyed. Directed by Ping Zhang, who goes by the name MTJJ, the film opened at the top of the Chinese box office in September 2019, and went on to gross $48 million. Its festival run included Annecy, where it played in competition this year. A sequel is in development.
Shout! and Play Big have assembled an English-language voice cast full of Chinese American talent, including Emi Lo (Bofuri, Valentine), Aleks Le (Funan, Ne Zha), Howard Wang (Dragon Ball Z, Marvel Avengers Academy), Kaiji Tang (Justice League, Grantz-O), Caleb Yen (Black Clover, Scott & Crowley), and Suzie Yeung (Kemono Friends).