Spiel­berg and Alibaba in global movie tie-up

Malta Independent - - ENTERTAINMENT -

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.

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