Basketball becoming booming business in Asia

HONG KONG — Sony Pictures Television Intl. has picked up Asian rights to basketball movie “Slam.” Beijing-set coming-of-age story received modest theatrical releases in China and Singapore this year.

Sony, which brands itself in the region as the Asian Hollywood Studio, is acquiring TV, digital and mobile rights in Asia-Pacific territories.

Pic is helmed by Jonathan Lim and produced by Singapore- and Beijing-based Crimson Forest Film. It stars Lin Xiao Fan and Zhang Yi Shan and Taiwanese hip-hopper Machi Di Di.

“With the increased attention on sports in China this Olympics year and the rapidly growing popularity of basketball in Asia, we feel this movie will work well for television and new-media content buyers looking to connect with the youth demo of today,” said Ross Pollack, SPTI senior VP distribution, Asia.  

Sony Television is bolstering digital and mobile distribution in Asia through content acquisitions. Last month it licensed five characters from U.K. animation house ZAC Toons for distribution as video greetings, screensavers, animated wallpapers and voicetones.

Basketball is fast becoming one of China’s top sports — and one of its most lucrative for anything connected with it.

National Basketball Assn. spinoff NBA China this year attracted a $2.3 billion pricetag before a ball had even been dribbled when Disney and Hong Kong businessman Li Ka-Shing put up $253 million for an 11% stake in the org.

Taiwanese movie “Kung Fu Dunk” is this year’s third highest-grossing Chinese-language movie in China with a take exceeding $15 million.

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