Alibaba Pictures, the film and TV production arm of the Chinese e-commerce giant, said Wednesday that it was investing in its first Hollywood film, announcing a tie-up with Paramount Pictures’ for the studio’s summer release “Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation.”
Alibaba Pictures did not put a price tag on the investment, but said it would cooperate with Paramount on online ticketing, merchandising and promotion of the movie, calling the partnership the “start of Alibaba Pictures’ international journey as the company continues to explore collaborative opportunities with more movie studios overseas.”
Paramount Vice Chairman Rob Moore said in a statement that Alibaba founder Jack Ma, Paramount Chairman Brad Grey and Alibaba Pictures Chief Executive Zhang Qiang met in Los Angeles last fall to talk about ways to cooperate.
“We hope today’s announcement is the first of many collaborations between us,” Moore said. “We are thrilled to be working with them to create a successful campaign for one of our studio's most popular franchises."
Alibaba said “Rogue Nation” would be promoted through its Taobao Movie platform, which allows users to purchase tickets and select seats. Movie merchandise will also be promoted through various Alibaba platforms, the company said.
“Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation” is scheduled for release in the United States on July 31; a China release date has not yet been confirmed.
Previous installments in the “Mission: Impossible” franchise have preformed well in China, and scenes for the third installment, 2006’s “Mission: Impossible III” were filmed on the mainland.
Alibaba’s investment follows a wave of other partnerships between Chinese entities and Hollywood studios and production companies.
China's Hunan TV closed an agreement to invest $375 million in Lionsgate's movie slate over three years; real estate firm Fosun last year put $200 million into Jeff Robinov's new Studio 8 production company; and Beijing-based Huayi Bros. studio announced in March that it was investing in a slate of at least 18 films with Robert Simonds' STX Entertainment.
Former Disney studio chief Dick Cook has also launched a new production company with $150 million from a Chinese investment group, CITIC Guoan.
In January, Alibaba Pictures announced its inaugural production would be a comedy written and directed by 30-something author Zhang Jiajia. Hong Kong director Wong Kar-Wai will produce the movie, which will star Tony Leung and is slated for release this year.
Alibaba Pictures said in early June that it would issue new shares to raise $1.6 billion to fund acquisitions and investments.
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