Daily Management Review

Films for Global, Chinese Audiences to be Co-produced by Alibaba Pictures and Amblin


Films for Global, Chinese Audiences to be Co-produced by Alibaba Pictures and Amblin
Steven Spielberg's Amblin Partners and Alibaba Pictures Group Ltd will co-produce and finance films for global and Chinese audiences. The two companies said this over the weekend.
Alibaba Pictures Group Ltd is the film unit of Chinese billionaire Jack Ma's Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.
The companies said in a joint statement that marketing, distribution and merchandising of Amblin Partner films in China will also be collaborated between them. Under the Amblin Entertainment, DreamWorks Pictures and Participant Media brands, Amblin Partners creates film, television and digital content.
Even as they seek to expand their footprint in Hollywood, big Chinese companies including Dalian Wanda Group Co are looking to bring more Western films and movie-making prowess into China.
Industry watchers say that China's masses have the ability to keep Hollywood movies afloat. As the world's biggest movie market, industry watchers expect China to soon surpass the United States.
'Warcraft' this year was made one of the country's highest-grossing films of the year as it raked in hundreds of millions of dollars in China even though it was a box office flop in the United States itself.
"Some of the stories I'm hoping Jack and I can tell in this new partnership between Amblin Partners and Alibaba Pictures will be able to bring Chinese-themed stories to the American audience, and we can do co-productions between our company and your company," Spielberg said at a briefing in Beijing.
"And we can bring more of China to America, and bring some more of America to China," he added.
Although the company formerly known as ChinaVision Media Group Ltd has several projects in production, Hong Kong-listed Alibaba Pictures has yet to release any films.
With its stake in 'Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation', Alibaba Pictures began investing in Hollywood films in 2015. This year's blockbusters 'Star Trek Beyond' and 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows' were also movies where the company had invested.
For a controlling stake in ChinaVision Media, Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group paid about $800 million in 2014. Amblin Partners, which is chaired by Spielberg, the award-winning U.S. movie director and produce, will also have a minority stake by Alibaba Pictures under the terms of the partnership.
Marketing of Sony Pictures' films and co-financing some upcoming movie releases of Sony Corp's film unit in China would be done by Dalian Wanda, the conglomerate controlled by China's richest man Wang Jianlin, which is partnering with Sony Pictures and the above activities would be conducted as a part of that deal.
To obtain a controlling stake in U.S. film studio Legendary Entertainment, Wanda had paid $3.5 billion in January. It would start co-investing in global blockbusters next year, the group has also since that deal said.
"I heard a lot of people say the movie industries are dead. I think that's a lack of imagination. All the cinemas in the future are going to be changed because of technology. So people will definitely have all kinds of experiences watching movies," Ma said at the briefing.

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