a dog's purpose sequel

A Dog’s Purpose may have found its calling: in China.

The heartwarming tale of a dog (voiced by Josh Gad) who gets reincarnated multiple times before he finds its way back to his owner (Dennis Quaid) may have had middling success in the States, but it was all the rage at the Chinese box offices, bringing in $88 million compared to the domestic $64 million haul. And it’s the power of Chinese pet-lovers that has helped greenlight A Dog’s Purpose sequel.

The genius marketing effort targeting middle-class Chinese pet owners by the studio Alibaba, a minority investor in the film, was paramount to A Dog’s Purpose‘s success in China, according to The Wall Street Journal.

And now those middle-class Chinese pet owners will be getting the sequel they deserve, as Amblin Entertainment has started working on a follow-up that, according to CEO Michael Wright, will “keep Chinese audiences in mind.”

It’s an interesting 180 for a movie that was imbued in Americana — from the classic ’50s period setting in which it began, to the different and diverse walks of life throughout the country that Gad’s dog ended up living in. That sense of Americana may have been sullied, however, by the allegations of animal abuse after a video surfaced of a German Shepherd appearing to nearly drown. Boycotts were called, investigations started, and the movie made a tepid — and ultimately forgotten — opening in January.

China is proving to be a huge box office force though, bringing A Dog’s Purpose back into the public consciousness and ostensibly being the reason we have Now You See Me 2.

I wonder, however, if the sequel to A Dog’s Purpose will be more catered to Chinese audiences, if there will be any fanfare for it in the States at all. Another heartwarming dog movie Hachi: A Dog’s Tale starring Richard Gere was never released in the U.S., and with the non-reaction to A Dog’s Purpose at the U.S. box office, A Dog’s Purpose 2 could see the same fate. Whether Dennis Quaid and Josh Gad will return to the movie is to be seen — or maybe we’ll just get an all-Chinese cast and spin-off of A Dog’s Purpose à la the Chinese version of Now You See Me.

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