Alibaba Pictures, the film investment arm of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, has committed to invest in upcoming South Korean movie “Real.”
The picture stars Kim Soo-hyun, the male lead from “My Love From The Stars,” the smash hit Korean TV series that has been widely exported and earned large online viewership in China. APG will have exclusive control over the film’s distribution rights in China. It said that it plans to exploit opportunities including advertising placement, brand licensing and e-commerce development.
“Real” is to be directed from December by Lee Jeong-sub (“Romantic Island”) and produced by special purpose vehicle Real SPC. Aside from Kim, no other cast attachments have yet been confirmed.
The deal was signed last week in Busan by Alibaba Pictures Group head Zhang Qiang, Keyeast, the talent agency that represents Kim confirmed.
“We’re investing in ‘Real’ because the Korean film industry is arguably the most influential creatively in the region at present, and the hugely popular Kim Soo Hyun is the embodiment of that,” said Zhang in a statement. “We aim to support regional movie making in Asia, as well as bigger Hollywood movies. Indeed, we continue to explore cooperation opportunities with the best film production houses globally. So our vision here is truly global.”
APG was set up in mid 2014 when Alibaba acquired majority control of listed company ChinaVision. The company retains its separate listing on the Hong Kong and Singapore stock exchanges. Alibaba has suggested that it will transfer several entertainment assets to APG, though has not yet done so.
To date the company has invested in “The Ferryman,” a film being produced by Wong Kar-wai; “Little Door Gods,” an animation that is set to release in January 2016; and “Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation.”