(Adds comments by Spielberg, Ma)
BEIJING Oct 9 Steven Spielberg's Amblin
Partners and Alibaba Pictures Group Ltd, the film unit
of Chinese billionaire Jack Ma's 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.
Amblin Partners creates film, television and digital content
under the Amblin Entertainment, DreamWorks Pictures and
Participant Media brands.
Big Chinese companies including Dalian Wanda Group Co are
looking to bring more Western films and movie-making prowess
into China even as they seek to expand their footprint in
China's masses have the ability to keep Hollywood movies
afloat, industry watchers say. They expect China to soon surpass
the United States as the world's biggest movie market.
This year's 'Warcraft', which was a box office flop in the
United States, raked in hundreds of millions of dollars in
China, making it one of the country's highest-grossing films of
"Some of the stories I'm hoping Jack and I can tell in this
new partnership between Amblin Partners and Alibaba Pictures
will be able to bring Chinese-themed stories to the American
audience, and we can do co-productions between our company and
your company," Spielberg said at a briefing in Beijing.
"And we can bring more of China to America, and bring some
more of America to China."
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'.
Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group paid about $800
million for a controlling stake in ChinaVision Media in 2014.
Under the terms of the 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
Dalian Wanda, 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
"I heard a lot of people say the movie industries are dead.
I think that's a lack of imagination," Ma said at the briefing.
"All the cinemas in the future are going to be changed because
of technology. So people will definitely have all kinds of
experiences watching movies."
(Reporting by Ryan Woo; Editing by Paul Tait and Clelia Oziel)