Alibaba Pictures forges alliance with Wolf Warrior 2 distributor, co-producer

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 27 August, 2017, 3:05pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 27 August, 2017, 10:42pm

Alibaba Pictures Group has formed an alliance with a major distributor of Wolf Warrior 2, China’s top-grossing movie of all time, in the expectation that big data can help produce more box office success stories.

Hong Kong-listed Alibaba Pictures and Beijing Jingxi Culture & Tourism, co-producer and distributor of the hit movie, have become strategic partners, aiming to produce more box office successes after their collaboration in Wolf Warrior 2 collected 5.2 billion yuan (US$782 million) in four weeks. About 40 per cent of income was made via Taopiaopiao, an online ticketing unit of Alibaba Pictures.

The two companies said they will collaborate in areas involving content investment, promotion and distribution as well as movie-related merchandise.

The tie up comes at a critical time, as revenue from cinema ticket sales grew 3.7 per cent in the first half on year.

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Fan Luyuan, the chief executive officer of Alibaba Pictures, said the company’s internet presence and online marketing platforms are well positioned to help young filmmakers in China.

Fan said the success of Wolf Warrior 2 has shown that producing films for the mainland market can be profitable as the mainland cinema audience matures.

“We want to be part of the infrastructures of China’s movie industry,” Fan said in Beijing on Friday.

Wolf Warrior 2, directed by and starring well-known martial artist Wu Jing, depicts a Chinese special operations soldier who rescues aid workers and locals in Africa from American-led mercenaries. Since its release on July 27, it has become China’s top grossing movie and is the only Chinese film to rank in the top 100 grossing movies of all time, according to Alibaba Pictures.

Alibaba Pictures has access to a vast pool of data belonging to its parent company, Alibaba Group, which enables it to better understand consumer preferences.

“For example, we are able to tell producers and content investors what kind of movies people like to watch at the moment. And we can even know the profiles of cinema-goers in small counties in China, so that we can come up with different strategies to woo different consumers,” said Li Jie, head of Taopiaopiao, adding the goal is to sell the right movie ticket to the right people.

Song Ge, chairman of Beijing Jingxi Culture & Tourism, said the tie up with Alibaba will allow good movies to have an upper hand in marketing.

“But Chinese audience are very picky. If we cannot provide good movies with good content, we will still fail the box office,” he said.

Alibaba is the owner of the South China Morning Post.