A Dog’s Purpose, a movie about a dog, tanked in the US. But that won’t be stopping a sequel from happening!
According to a Wall Street Journal report, A Dog’s Purpose made $88 million in China to the $64 million it made domestically, and the success of the film already has Amblin Partners, producers of the film, penning part two. This time they’re considering Chinese audiences before production.
At first, the movie wasn’t even planned for a release in China, but an executive from Alibaba Pictures, Wei Zheng, developed a strategy for it via focus groups:
Growing sales of toys for pets had tracked China’s rising middle class and its embrace of pet ownership. And “Dog’s Purpose” director Lasse Hallström’s earlier movie, “Hachi: A Dog’s Tale,” was popular with customers of Alibaba’s on-demand video service. A strategy soon took shape.
Alibaba promoted the movie alongside pet adoption agencies and held special screenings for people and their dogs, Ms. Wei said. It plumbed its online movie-ticket service to target pet owners, families, women and others it believed would like the movie. Alibaba representatives traveled to theaters to persuade exhibitors to allocate screens, bringing the e-commerce data to support their pitch.
The film A Dog’s Purpose was beset by controversy in the US after footage leaked that appeared to show a least one dog suffering on set. Producers later gave an account of what happened on that ill-fated day and claimed that the footage was misleading.
Long story short, you’re getting a sequel, dog cruelty or not. As Jeff Small, president of producers Amblin Partners, put it, “To say we were pleasantly surprised doesn’t do it justice.”