iQiyi pays record fee for The Mermaid adaptation

Chinese production company Shanghai New Culture Media has acquired TV adaptation rights to Stephen Chow’s blockbuster The Mermaid and sold them to streaming platform iQiyi for a record fee.

iQiyi has paid $61.8m (RMB420m) for the series, according to a regulatory filing by Shanghai New Culture Media. The company also said it had acquired adaptation rights to Chow’s recent Chinese New Year hit Journey To The West: The Demons Strike Back, which iQiyi has acquired for $42.4m (RMB288m).

Released over Chinese New Year 2016, The Mermaid is China’s highest-grossing film of all time, with a box office haul of more than $500m at 2016 exchange rates. Shanghai New Culture Media was one of the investors in the film and recently paid $195m for a 51% stake in Premium Data Associates, a company established by Chow.

According to Chinese media, Chow will script and produce The Mermaid series. Both adaptations will be produced by Shanghai New Culture Media.

In March, iQiyi said it has acquired rights to Oscar winners La La Land and Moonlight, although it remains unclear whether the latter film will pass censorship in China. The Baidu-owned company also recently struck a deal with Netflix for shows including Black Mirror, Stranger Things, Mindhunter, BoJack Horseman and Ultimate Beastmaster.