July 21, 2014 - 13:31 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has struck a deal to be involved with the upcoming films of top auteur Wong Kar-wai, Variety said.
The company revealed the deal in a regulatory filing by Chinavision, the Hong Kong stock market listed company that is soon to be renamed Alibaba Pictures Group.
“The Group has entered into several motion pictures development cooperation agreements with leading movie producers and directors, including cooperations with Block 2 Films Limited and Mr. Wong Kar Wai, a highly acclaimed and nationally renowned director, producer and script writer,” the Chinavision statement said.
Block 2 is a Hong Kong-based film production investment company that has been involved in several of Wong’s movies including “In The Mood For Love,” and “My Blueberry Nights” as well as others produced by Wong’s main company Jettone, including Taiwanese pictures “Miao Miao,” and “Touch of the Light.”
A spokesman for Wong confirmed the Alibaba deal and told Variety that details would be announced at a future event.
Chinavision, however, also suffered a setback. The company warned that it would lose between HK$97 million (US$12.5 million) and HK$180 million (US$23.3 million) in the six months to end of June, compared with profits of HK$139 million (US$17.9 million) in the same period last year. Revenue has dropped by some 70%, compared to a period when Chinavision was a minority investor in Stephen Chow’s record breaking “Journey To The West: Conquering The Demons.”
The Alibaba parent group is currently preparing for one of the most significant IPOs anywhere in the world this year. In a filing to U.S. market regulators last week Alibaba valued itself at US$130 billion.
Chinavision said that its results also reflect the postponement of other strategic decisions relating to Alibaba’s takeover of the company. That acquisition of 60% of Chinavision’s stock through Alibaba offshoot Ali CV Investment Holding, has now been completed.
Chinavision recently announced the resignation of well-known producer Dong Ping as its CEO and the appointment of Alibaba executives Shao Xiaofeng as chairman and Liu Chunning as acting CEO. However the company has not confirmed recent reports that former number two executive at China Film Group Zhang Qiang will make the unusual leap from state owned enterprise to private sector giant take over as CEO from August.
Chinavision says that Alibaba ownership will transform it from humble production company to part of a budding entertainment colossus.
Wong, who has long been globally cherished as an art-house icon, is currently a hot property in China after “The Grandmaster,” his auteurist martial arts biopic became by far his biggest box office success in China and Hong Kong. Starring Tony Leung Chiu-wai and Zhang Ziyi, the picture grossed $45.7 million in China and amassed huge hauls of prizes at the Golden Horse, Hong Kong and Asian Film Awards events.