Netflix has acquired the streaming rights for The Wandering Earth, China’s first science fiction blockbuster, which has earned more than $600 million in theaters since its release during the Chinese New Year.
Based on a novelette by Three-Body Problem author Cixin Liu, the film follows a worldwide effort to move the Earth away from the sun after scientists discover it will soon expand and destroy humanity’s solar system. As the planet approaches Jupiter to slingshot out of the system and out to Proxima Centauri, a group of characters struggles to restart Earth’s failing transport engines and save Earth from being dragged into the gas giant’s gravity well and engulfed.
Late last year, Chinese author and screenwriter Anna Wu described science fiction as “a new challenge for the Chinese film industry,” given the complexities and audience expectations of such productions. Thus far, The Wandering Earth has been a major hit in China, becoming the country’s second-highest grossing film of all time. But despite the success at home, the film has had limited releases elsewhere in North America, Australia, and New Zealand. With Netflix acquiring the film, it’ll reach a much wider audience, raising the profile of the movie and the Chinese film industry.
Netflix hasn’t said when the film will hit its platform, and Deadline reports that The Wandering Earth will be available in North America, Australia, New Zealand, and Korea. Ironically, it won’t be available in China, as Netflix doesn’t operate there; local streaming service, Youku, will handle the film domestically.