Spielberg and Alibaba in global movie tie-up
China’s Alibaba Pictures has teamed up with Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Partners to co-operate on the production and distribution of films across China and the US.
“We can bring more of China to America, and some more of America to China,” as Mr Spielberg described the deal.
The tie-up is the latest to involve a Chinese company and the US movie industry.
China is soon expected to overtake the US as the industry’s biggest market.
The two sides said they would co-produce movies for a global and Chinese audience and also work together on the marketing and merchandising of each other’s films. While China is tipped to be the biggest movie market of the future, Western companies remain limited in their access and therefore often forge partnerships with Chinese firms. Alibaba Pictures president Zhang Wei, however, said the tie-up was “not just a financial investment” and that the company picked Amblin over other Hollywood partners because their early conversations did not focus on funding alone.
“There’s a lot of hot money from China floating around Hollywood right now, and we’ve had quite a few people approaching us wanting a partnership,” she said.
“Oftentimes people see us as a source of capital and as a way into China.”
Mr Spielberg stressed that his partnership with Alibaba founder Jack Ma would go beyond that.
“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,” he said at a briefing in Beijing.
Alibaba chief Jack Ma pointed out that while the US and China “may have cultural differences”, the company would focus on human stories and serve as a bridge between the two countries.