Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Partners and Chinese e-commerce and media giant have announced a partnership to co-produce films for global and Chinese audiences.
The award-winning U.S. movie director and producer joined Alibaba Group chief Jack Ma at a glitzy unveiling event in Beijing on Sunday, where the partnership was announced.
Under the terms of their partnership, Alibaba Pictures will acquire a minority stake in Amblin Partners, which is chaired by Spielberg.
The company combines Spielberg’s DreamWorks Studios, Participant Media, Reliance Entertainment, and Entertainment One.
“Our vision is to inspire and entertain audiences through creativity and imagination both here and around the world,” Spielberg said in a statement.
The deal marked an important milestone in the company’s “globalization strategy to reach Chinese and global audiences alike,” Shao Xiaofeng, Chairman of Alibaba Pictures, said.
The two companies will also collaborate on the marketing, distribution, and merchandising of Amblin Partner films in China, the companies said in the joint statement.
The deal also gives Alibaba Pictures the option to co-finance Amblin films worldwide. Alibaba Pictures will also gain a seat on Amblin’s board of directors.
Alibaba is China’s biggest online commerce company and has expanded into entertainment with its acquisition of the Youku Tudou video service and the launch of Alibaba Pictures, which finances film and television projects.
Alibaba’s Ma heaped praise on the veteran Hollywood director calling him “one of the world’s most influential filmmakers and entrepreneurs.”
“Among Chinese consumers, there is an increasing demand for premium global content,” Ma said. “I believe this collaboration can serve as a cultural bridge and have a positive impact on the next generation of Chinese consumers.”
Alibaba Pictures has previously invested in several high-profile Hollywood projects, including Star Trek Beyond and Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation, but this latest deal marks its most significant move to date.
In July, the company announced it was partnering with Wuhu Gopher Asset Management on a new $300 million film and TV fund.