Warner Bros. Feels the Buzz with Brother Orange

13 Jul 2016 - By TW Staff

One of the most viral stories in recent memory is about to spread to the big screen, as part of a joint venture spanning two continents and sparking a multitude of social media shares.

Brother Orange is in development as a feature film from Flagship Entertainment, a joint venture between CMC Holdings and Warner Bros. that announced an ambitious slate of upcoming films last spring. A deeply resonant story of the globe-hopping friendship that blossomed from a stolen iPhone, the film also marks Warner Bros.' first-ever partnership with BuzzFeed Motion Pictures, whose head of development Michael Shamberg will produce along with Matthew Hennick. 

The Chinese-language film will document the journey of BuzzFeed journalist Matt Stopera, who tracked his stolen phone to an orange grove in China and accidentally made a lasting friendship in the process. In 2015, Stopera's story got more than 20 million views in 24 hours on the Chinese microblogging site Weibo, turning both Stopera and "Brother Orange" -- the Chinese farmer who ended up with his stolen phone -- into overnight celebrities and ultimately leading to an appearance with Warner Bros.'s very own "Sister Ellen".

Ellen DeGeneres herself will serve as an executive producer on the film, along with Stopera, Broad City's Ilana Glazer and Jeff Kleeman. 

Flagship Entertainment is a joint venture between CMC Holdings and Warner Bros. founded in September 2015, with the mission to produce Chinese-language films in response to the rapidly growing market for high-quality Chinese-language movies around the world.