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Chinese electronics and digital entertainment company Jetsen Huashi has acquired the exclusive Chinese digital rights to Luc Besson’s Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.
The rights deal was part of a package of films exclusively acquired by Jetsen for digital and new media platforms in China. The company picked up the rights from Shanghai-based Fundamental Films, which is a strategic investor in Besson’s EuropaCorp. Other EuropaCorp titles included in the agreement are 24 Hours to Live, starring Ethan Hawke; Replicas, starring Keanu Reeves; and Renegades, which was co-written by Besson.
Fundamental and Jetsen are calling the agreement the first step in an ongoing strategic partnership, which is expected to lead to additional exclusive digital rights deals.
Valerian, budgeted at $200 million, is the most expensive independent film ever made. Besson spent some seven years developing and producing the high concept space epic. It is set for release in North America on July 21. China’s censors are understood to have approved the film and it is expected to score a local theatrical release around the same time as its rollout in other major markets. Fundamental is the Chinese distributor of Valerian and holds a large equity stake in the film.
Jetsen Huashi has become a major player in China’s increasingly online-driven entertainment landscape. The company acquires digital media rights to Chinese and international film and TV titles — including local rights for VOD, SVOD, OTT, IPTV etc. — and re-licenses packages of content to China’s leading mobile and online platforms, such as iQiyi, Youku, Tencent and others. It has a market capitalization of approximately $3.6 billion on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange.
“We are very happy to cooperate with Jetsen, which is an excellent domestic copyright dealer,” Fundamental said in a statement. “Cooperating with Jetsen in the new media space will increase the value and influence of our copyrights, while helping us reach a wider audience.”
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