The rights were licensed to streaming video platform PPTV for a sum in excess of $18 million (RMB120 million). The figure is believed to be more than double the previous highest license fee in China for a single, imported film.
PPTV obtains the rights in exclusivity, but its deal allows it to syndicate the movie to other streaming platforms. Prices are typically linked to a combination of the attractiveness of the film to Chinese audiences, and the length of the window between theatrical and online release – the quicker the film makes the transition online the higher the value.
Released on Wednesday last week, the film earned a tepid $24.5 million in North America, but blasted to $156 million in five days in China.
China’s online video companies have quickly become major forces in the country’s movie and entertainment businesses. That has been thanks to their ubiquity and their willingness to sustain heavy losses as they compete for eyeballs, downloads and market share.
They have largely operated with an advertising supported business model (AVoD), though, increasingly, as the market matures and as they move upstream into original content production, the companies are developing subscription (SVoD) and transactional (TVoD) models.
PPTV is partly owned by Chinese retail group Suning, which last week became a part-owner of Italian soccer club Inter Milan.