Shanghai-based production company Huace Film & TV has signed a $30m five-year deal with Guo Jingming, the novelist turned filmmaker behind the hugely successful Tiny Times franchise.

Huace is paying $29.5m for a 26% stake in Guo’s production outfit Shanghai Zui Culture Development and the two partners will jointly produce five feature films. Huace is hoping to collaborate with a US studio on one of the planned projects, youth fantasy epic The City Of Fantasy.

Guo’s adaptation of his best-selling teenage novel Tiny Times grossed $78.6m this summer and was followed by a slightly less successful sequel within six weeks. A third installment will start shooting this month for release next year.

Huace was not an investor in the first two Tiny Times films, but will be involved in the next two, along with returning investors.