Warner Bros. Licenses 200 Films to Chinese Streaming Giant iQiyi

Courtesy of iQiyi
iQiyi CEO Gong Yu

The agreement includes exclusive local streaming rights to the 'Lord of the Rings' franchise, 'Gravity,' 'Godzilla' and other select titles.

Warner Bros. blockbusters such as the Harry Potter franchise, Gravity and Godzilla will soon be legally available to online viewers in China, thanks to a major rights deal with iQiyi, the Netflix-like streaming video subsidiary of search giant Baidu. 

The studio on Tuesday unveiled a new licensing agreement with the Chinese partner covering streaming rights to some 200 film titles. iQiyi also has taken exclusive local online rights to several of the titles, including the Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Great Gatsby and others.

The Warners deal follows previous pacts between iQiyi and 20th Century Fox, NBCUniversal, Paramount and Lionsgate.

Earlier this month, the Chinese streamer snagged exclusive online rights to Oscar winners Moonlight, La La Land and The Salesman.

Video streaming is perhaps the most fiercely contested area of the Chinese entertainment landscape. iQiyi's chief competitors include Tencent Video and Alibaba-owned Youku Tudou, while strict protectionism by Beijing regulators prevents Netflix and Amazon from entering the market.

Last month, iQiyi raised $1.53 billion in new funds to compete with rivals and fuel investments in exclusive and original content.