Hong Kong-based gaming company Fifth Journey has signed strategic partnership deals with Universal, Lionsgate and MGM to develop mobile games, interactive entertainment and virtual reality content based on the studios’ films.
The studios are also each taking a strategic equity stake in the start-up.
Founded in early 2015 by Eric Tan, a former executive with Universal, Gameloft and Electronic Arts, and LucasArts veteran Craig Derrick, the Hollywood-focused mobile entertainment company hopes to crack Asia’s gaming market with Hollywood franchises.
“Asia is an enormous opportunity and challenge for Hollywood,” said CEO Tan. “So is building a great film franchise in this on-demand world. We built a company to solve some of Hollywood’s most pressing needs, and these partnerships are a huge step forward.”
Tan oversaw a slate of Marvel games, as well as the release of Universal and Gameloft’s “Despicable Me: Minion Rush” in China.
Fifth Journey also has the ability to incorporate movie ticket sales and merchandise e-commerce, as well as stream films and TV shows alongside its interactive games.
“Mobile games are a highly engaging form of entertainment in their own right and, given that, they can also be envisioned as a hub through which fans may access and experience different elements of their favorite IP,” said Bill Kispert, executive VP of digital platforms at NBCUniversal Brand Development Group. “We look forward to working with Fifth Journey to first develop an authentic, film-based game and then to use this point of connection to bring players deeper into that world and its ecosystem.”
Fifth Journey closed a $2 million seed round of financing in August. It also partnered with Lionsgate and Millennium Films — its first major deal — to develop a mobile game based on Sylvester Stallone’s “Expendables” franchise. “The Expendables 4” is expected to hit theaters in 2017.