Weiying Technology, one of China’s leading online ticketing companies is to become a major film producer and distributor.

Its debut slate contains an animated movie with a budget of $9 million, and a comedy to be executive produced by and star China’s leading male actor Ge You (“Let The Bullets Fly,” “Dream Factory”.)
Weying, which is partly backed by Tencent, is launching production company Nextainment Pictures and theatrical releasing unit Nextainment Distribution.

The new operational units will harness Weiying’s position between cinemas and consumers and the vast amounts of data about consumer behavior and preferences generate in that sweet spot. That nexus position also enables it to provide marketing and promotional support for movies.

“Nextainment Pictures is devoted to producing the most appealing film and TV works for audiences. Activities will include film investment, film production and TV production, IP development and other businesses based on the principles of mobile Internet entertainment,” the company said. “The mission of Nextainment Distribution is to contribute its Internet platform distribution capacity and big data services, helping good content find suitable audiences. And to help audiences find the content they like.”

The company’s three interfaces – on Tencent’s WeChat platform, on Tencent’s QQ social media platform and via its own app – currently have over 100 million registered users and connect 6,000 cinemas, as well as a further 2,000 theaters, stadiums and exhibition halls. The company says it will also change the brand name from ‘Wepiaoer’ to ‘Yupiaoer,’ suggesting ‘forward leap’ and ‘joyfulness’ in Chinese.

Titles on the slate include:

  • animation “Snowkid,” soon going into production and set for a mid 2018 release, with Shanghai Animation Film Studio and Tencent Pictures as its producers;
  • game adaptation “Teenage Master of Fantastic Beasts” being produced on a $2.5 million budget, in partnership with iDream Sky Games;
  • Ge You’s adventure-themed comedy “Passed Out,” directed by Guo Shuang and set for a release next summer. Other cast include Yue Yunpeng, Du Chun, and Charlene Choi. Production partners include Novoland International and Hong Kong’s Emperor Motion Pictures;
  • Female-skewing “Slimming Man,” to be directed by Su Lun and produced with Perfect Sky Pictures and comedian Xu Zheng’s Xu Zheng Studio.

On the TV side it will partner Liubai Pictures and Saren Culture for “Changan 12 Hours,” a Chinese show with parallels to Imagine Entertainment’s “24 Hours” action series.