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Fox Joins Tencent in Chinese Web Movie Production Slate

Variety logo Variety 5/29/2017 Patrick Frater
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Youth Tencent, part of China’s giant Tencent games and social media group, has amassed an impressive group of producers and investors for the first edition of its online movie production initiative.

Twentieth Century Fox offshoot, Fox International Productions along with Sina Entertainment and iQIYI are among the partners on the 10-film Flying Wings (aka Bi Yi) slate. Other partner companies include Xinpianchang which is facilitating production; Bole Pictures and Good Fellow Pictures, providing marketing and promotion support.

Properties are drawn from anime titles on Tencent’s Comic and Animation platform and are made on relatively low budgets by film makers with an average age of 30. Chinese director Zhao Tianyu, Japanese producer Takashige Ichise, and director Yao Tingting serve as executive producers.

With titles including “Twin Detectives,” “The Innocent City,” “Soul Hunter,” “The Maid Killer,” “Not Married,” “Horror of Flowers,” “Lost In Apocalypse,” “Soul Contract,” “Private Hero,” and “The Mystical Treasure,” projects range in genre from suspense, thriller, and action, to fantasy, romance and comedy.

To date, seven projects have completed production, two are currently in production and one is in pre-production. All ten are set to broadcast exclusively on iQiyi’s video streaming platform in the second half of 2017.

“Providing opportunities to young talents is about cultivating the future backbone of the industry,” said Edward Cheng, VP of Tencent, and CEO of Tencent Pictures, in a statement.

“This collaboration is a cutting-edge attempt to embrace China’s ‘Internet +’ through online movies created by a team of talented new directors,” said FIP president Tomas Jegeus in a message.

Launched in 2010, FIP has produced and released over 50 local films in 11 countries, including “The Wailing” in Korea?[1]”Miss Bala” in Mexico, and “The Hidden Face,” in Spain. In Greater China Region, FIP has produced films including “Hot Summer Days,” “The Butcher, the Chef, and the Swordsman,” and a remake of “Bride Wars.”

Tencent Pictures last week used its presence in Cannes to launch an animated feature film “One Hundred Thousand Bad Jokes 2,” that it is producing in partnership with Joy Pictures.

Speaking in Cannes, Howard Chen, VP of Tencent Pictures, told Variety that the company is gradually ramping up its production efforts in ambition and scale.

“We are not just looking at franchise films – we want to work across the range of genres – covering things from Chinese humor to adrenalin and excitement like the ‘Fast and the Furious’ titles,” said Chen.

He added that “Bad Jokes 2” is targeting a wider and more international audience than its predecessor picture, which grossed some $14.5 million (RMB100 million).

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