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Wanda Joins With Tencent on IP Venture, Unveils Huge Production Slate

Variety logo Variety 6/19/2017 Patrick Frater
© Provided by Variety

China’s Dalian Wanda group Monday unveiled a strategic cooperation pact with Internet giant Tencent, an agreement stretching from cooperation in film to VR and games.

The property and entertainment conglomerate also revealed a massive 27-film production and investment slate and a slew of first-look deals with local producers.

Wanda’s deal with Tencent will emphasize recruitment of key talent and directors to develop intellectual properties, which the two companies are calling an “intelligent people strategy.” It brings together Tencent Pictures, Tencent Games, Wanda Pictures, and Tencent’s online literature platform China Reading.

The announcements were made at a Wanda event on the sidelines of the Shanghai International Film Festival. The glitzy event, which boasted visiting celebrities such as Julie Delpy and various industry partners, was held in the group’s newly opened luxury Wanda Reign hotel in the fashionable Shanghai riverfront district known as The Bund.

The company also said that it has boarded “Transformers: The Last Knight,” which opens in China later this week, as a marketing partner. Last week, Weying Technology also signed up as a marketing partner and said that it had taken a stake in the film that will entitle it to a share of global revenues.

Wanda Pictures signed first-look deals with IDO Culture, Sainos Entertainment, Hairun Pictures, Transcend, Rosat, ShoPro, and Dynamic Media. It also announced a relationship with the China Film Directors Guild.

Upcoming film titles include “Oh Young,” “Trouble Makers,” Tencent’s animated “One Hundred Thousand Bad Jokes 2,” “Father and Son,” “Evil Minds,” “The Last Party,” “Crossing The Bridge,” “Guns and Kidneys,” “Lobster Cop,” and Lucida Entertainment’s “Love Is a Broadway Hit.”

The scale of the announcements indicates the company’s continued confidence and long-term optimism about the growth of the Chinese film industry and of Wanda’s own position within it, in spite of the dramatic box-office slowdown of the past 12 months.

Wanda also touted its massive studio complex in the coastal city of Qingdao. Half of its planned 30 stages are currently in operation. The facility sits next to condominiums, hotels, schools, and hospitals also built by Wanda.

Attending Monday night’s event at the Wanda Reign in Shanghai were executives from AMC, the market-leading U.S. theater chain that Wanda bought in 2012, and Sunny Pawar, the child star of “Lion,” which will release in China on Friday, the same day as “Transformers: The Last Knight.”

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