Cannes: Japan's Rakuten Takes Stake in The H Collective Action Films 'xXx 4,' 'Brightburn'

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Vin Diesel

The deal signals a new diversification into film investment for the deep-pocketed Japanese firm.

Japanese Internet giant Rakuten Inc. has boarded two upcoming action films from Los Angeles-based mini studio The H Collective — Vin Diesel vehicle xXx 4 and Brightburn, starring Elizabeth Banks and produced by James Gunn.

Under the terms of the dual financing deal, The H Collective and Rakuten will also establish a joint venture to distribute films in Japan.

The joint venture will help support the release of Brightburn — which is being distributed by Sony — and distribute xXx 4, as well as the animated film Spycies in Japan. The H Collective invested in Spycies, which was directed by Guillaume Ivernel (Dragon Hunters) and produced by Chinese entertainment giant and frequent collaborator iQiyi. 

Japan's largest e-commerce company, Rakuten has a market value of $14.6 billion on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. The H Collective deal signals a diversification into film investment for the deep-pocketed Japanese firm. 

"I couldn’t be happier to be strengthening our relationships in Asia by partnering with Rakuten — which is one of the most exciting companies in the world," said Nic Crawley, CEO of The H Collective. "Japan is a fantastic market, ripe with distribution opportunities given the rising quantity of cinema admissions.”

"This is the next step for Rakuten to empower the entertainment industry through strategic investment," added Rakuten CEO Mickey Mikitani. "I'm very excited to collaborate with The H Collective and look forward to growing our partnership to invest in international cinema and bring more great international films to Japan."

Launched in June 2017, The H Collective also has considerable ties to the Chinese film industry and market. The company is known to be backed by Chinese brothers and entrepreneurs Kenneth and Kent Huang, who were previously associated with Huahua Media, the Shanghai-based company that attempted to orchestrate a $1 billion slate investment at Paramount during the late days of Brad Grey's tenure at the studio.

The H Collective also has a three-picture co-production pact with Chinese streaming service iQiyi, and Song Ge, chairman of rising Chinese studio Beijing Culture, sits on The H Collective's board.

The H Collective also has a worldwide distribution deal in place with Sony Pictures, covering up to four films per year.

Aside from Brightburn and xXx 4, The H Collective's current slate includes Christopher Cantwell’s thriller The Parts You Lose, starring Aaron Paul, and a project being developed from Aaron W. Sala’s horror thriller spec The Beast, which will be directed by Christine Crokos.