Back in January, when the prospect of a global pandemic still seemed farfetched to most, the Chinese box office shut down to help contain the coronavirus. As we reported at the time, the high-profile cg feature Jiang Ziya was among the films pulled from release.
Eight months later, China’s theaters are operating once again (albeit at reduced capacity), and Jiang Ziya’s time has come at last. The mythological epic, which is directed by Teng Cheng and Wei Li, opens today across China, and in select theaters in the U.S. and Canada. Watch the trailer and read the official synopsis below:
To earn his place amongst the gods, celestial army commander Jiang Ziya must vanquish a terrifying fox demon threatening the very existence of the mortal realm. After learning the creature’s fate is tied to that of a young girl, Jiang Ziya disobeys Heaven’s edict and spares the demon, resulting in his banishment to the mortal realm. Ten years later, he is given one more chance to complete the task, and Jiang Ziya must decide: is joining the ranks of the heavens worth the price of one innocent life?
The film is a follow-up to Ne Zha, which was released in the U.S. last year after grossing more than $700 million in China. (It was the highest-grossing non-Disney animated feature of 2019.) Jiang Ziya is not a direct sequel. Rather, it draws on similar legends as its predecessor, forming a new instalment in what Beijing Enlight Pictures — the producers of both films — has termed the “Fengshen Cinematic Universe.” The classic Chinese novel Fengshen Yanyi (Investiture of the Gods) loosely inspired both films.