China's Alibaba Pictures Invests in Paramount's 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2,' 'Star Trek Beyond'
The deal follows last year's investment in 'Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation' by the fledgling Chinese studio.
Alibaba Pictures, the Chinese film studio set up by Jack Ma's e-commerce giant Alibaba, on Monday announced an agreement to invest in two Paramount Pictures films, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows and Star Trek Beyond.
The deal follows Alibaba Pictures investment and marketing partnership last year on Paramount's Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation.
The two films are slated for released in North America this summer. They are expected to be imported into China as revenue-sharing films under the state distribution apparatus by China Film Group and HuaXia Film in the second half of 2016. Alibaba will serve as a local marketing, promotion and merchandising partner, as it did for Mission: Impossible, which grossed $135.6 million of its $682.3 million worldwide haul in China.
"We had a great experience working with Paramount on Mission: Impossible, and are very excited to join forces again for these two pictures, both of which have terrific fan bases in China that we hope to cooperate with Paramount to grow even larger,” Alibaba Pictures president Zhang Wei said in a statement.
Alibaba said it will leverage its Tabao Movie mobile ticketing service and Yulebao crowd-funding platform to help promote the pictures. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“We are very glad to be working with Alibaba Pictures again," added Paramount vice chairman Rob Moore. "Our most recent collaboration showed us [the strength] this new internet-powered movie and television company has in areas such as promotion, distribution and movie-related merchandise. We look forward to even more successful launches of these films in the global movie market.”
Paramount's first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film grossed $493 million globally in the summer of 2014, with $63 million coming from China. Star Trek Into Darkness (2013), the latest installment in the storied franchise, earned $467 million worldwide, $57 million in China.
Launched in 2014, Alibaba Pictures Group has yet to release a movie of its own, but the upstart studio's slate has begun to take shape.
Alibaba Pictures' first feature The Ferryman, directed by Zhang Jiajia and produced by Wong Kar-wai, will be released in the second half of this year. The company also has signed Chinese actress and filmmaker Vicki Zhao to direct an animated film adaptation of My Fair Princess, the hit period TV drama that launched her to stardom in the 1990s.
Earlier this month, Alibaba Pictures announced a partnership with Skydance Media to co-finance and produce The Flying Tigers, a China-set WWII pic to be scripted by Braveheart writer Randall Wallace.