Headlines from China: Alibaba Acquires $740 Million Worth of Shares in Wanda Film

Alibaba Acquires $740 Million Worth of Shares in Wanda Film

Today, Wanda Film announced that the company’s shareholder Wanda Investment had agreed to sell 90 million shares in the company to Alibaba’s investment affiliate Hangzhou Zhenxi Investment. The shares will be sold to Alibaba at 51.96 yuan ($8.27) per share for a total amount of 4.68 billion yuan ($740 million). According to the announcement, Alibaba makes this strategic investment as Wanda Film shows promising signs of future success. Read more on ifeng.com

China Sets One-Quarter Box Office Record with $3.2 Billion in Q1

According to Maoyan box office data, China’s total box office earnings reached 20.2 billion yuan ($3.2 billion) in Q1, setting a new one-quarter global box office record in a single territory. China’s Q1 box office data also indicates the following three trends: first, Hollywood movies are becoming less important to China’s bottom line. As of now, none of the Hollywood movies released this year in China made more than 1 billion yuan ($160 million). Second, China’s film industry has become more digitized than North America. According to consulting firm McKinsey, over 75% of movie tickets are sold online in China. In addition, online ticketing and social platforms play increasingly important roles in distributing and promoting films as well as informing future productions. Last but not least, the growth of China box office gradually rely less on constructions of new movie theaters, and rely more on improved quality of films, targeted marketing, and effective collaborations between companies from different sectors of the supply chain. Read more on yulechanye

‘Ready Player One’ Becomes Steven Spielberg’s Highest-grossing Film in China 

Steven Spielberg’s latest science fiction adventure film Ready Player One had a strong debut this past weekend in China with 389 million yuan ($62 million), overtaking Pacific Rim: Uprising as the weekly box office winner. The film also became Steven Spielberg’s highest-grossing film in China. Prior to the release of Ready Player One, the director’s highest-grossing film in the middle kingdom was Jurassic Park, which made 355 million yuan ($56.5 million). Top five highest-grossing films by the director are E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Jurassic Park, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Jaws.  Among them, only E.T. the Terrestrial and Jurassic Park were theatrically released in China. Read more on Mtime

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Production Companies Spent $160 M on Ticket Subsidies Last Year

The 2nd China Film Investment Summit took place in Haikou last week. Top industry executives from various companies, including Shanghai Film Group, Huayi Brothers Media, Tao Piaopiao, New Classics Media, and Le Chuang Entertainment (formerly known as Le Vision Pictures), attended the summit. Filmmaker Feng Xiaogang criticized ticket subsidies at the gathering and asked the attendees to comment on this phenomenon. Tao Piaopiao CEO Li Jie said that ticket subsidies was effective in terms of cultivating moviegoing habit in the past, yet its current effects are more harmful than helpful to China’s film industry. Li Jie also revealed that in 2017, ticketing platforms spent about 800 million ($127 million) yuan on ticket subsidies while production companies spent over 1.2 billion yuan ($160 million). Read more on Mtime