Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba teams up with Hollywood’s highest-grossing director Steven Spielberg to produce, finance and distribute movies for global audiences.
Alibaba Pictures Group Ltd (NYSE:BABA), Alibaba’s movie business, will buy a minority stake in Amblin Partners, a content creation company co-owned by Spielberg. Alibaba said the deal will help Amblin to distribute its movies in China, the world’s second largest box office. While Spielberg’s company will help Alibaba to become a bigger player in Hollywood.
“Among Chinese consumers, there is an increasing demand for premium global content," Ma said in an e-mailed statement. "This collaboration can serve as a cultural bridge and have a positive impact on the next generation of Chinese consumers.”
Alibaba Pictures will also gain a seat on Spielberg’ company. No financial details were announced so far.
Amblin Partners is company formed by DreamWorks Studios, Participant Media, Reliance Entertainment and Entertainment One last year.
“We can do co-productions between our company and your company, and we can bring more of China to America, and more of America to China,” Mr. Spielberg said.
Chinese box-office sales are No.2 in the world, with $6.8 billion in 2015, up 49 percent from the previous year. While The North American is still the biggest box office in the world, with $11.1 billion sales in 2015, according to the Motion Picture Association of America.
The partnership "marks an important milestone in our globalization strategy to reach Chinese and global audiences alike," said Alibaba Pictures chairman Shao Xiaofeng in a statement. "We will also leverage Alibaba Group's ecosystem as a channel for Amblin Partners' films to reach hundreds of millions of Chinese consumers."