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Alibaba Pictures, Amblin to co-produce films for global, Chinese audiences

BEIJING Oct 9 Steven Spielberg's Amblin Partners and Alibaba Pictures Group Ltd, the film studio unit of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, said on Sunday they will co-produce and finance films for global and Chinese audiences.

They will also collaborate on the marketing, distribution and merchandising of Amblin Partner films in China, the companies said in a joint statement.

Under the terms of their partnership, Alibaba Pictures will also acquire a minority stake in Amblin Partners, which is chaired by Spielberg, the award-winning U.S. movie director and producer.

Amblin Partners creates film, television and digital content under the Amblin Entertainment, DreamWorks Pictures and Participant Media brands.

Hong Kong-listed Alibaba Pictures has yet to release any films, although the company formerly known as ChinaVision Media Group Ltd has several projects in production.

Alibaba Pictures began investing in Hollywood films in 2015 with its stake in 'Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation'. It was an investor in this year's blockbusters 'Star Trek Beyond' and 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows'.

Billionaire Jack Ma's Alibaba Group paid about $800 million for a controlling stake in ChinaVision Media in 2014. The company later became known as Alibaba Pictures.

The investment was part of a wave of acquisitions by big Chinese companies looking to expand their Hollywood footprint while bringing more Western films to China, set to soon surpass the United States as the world's biggest movie market.

Dalian Wanda Group Co, the conglomerate controlled by China's richest man Wang Jianlin, is partnering with Sony Pictures under which Wanda will market Sony Pictures' films and co-finance some upcoming movie releases of Sony Corp's film unit in China.

In January, Wanda paid $3.5 billion for a controlling stake in U.S. film studio Legendary Entertainment. The group has also since said it would start co-investing in global blockbusters next year. (Reporting by Ryan Woo; Editing by Paul Tait)

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