×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

China’s Tencent Pictures Ratchets Up Role as Next Generation Film, TV Powerhouse

Tencent Pictures, the film-making arm of Chinese Internet giant Tencent, has unveiled a 43-title production, distribution and investment slate for 2018, including “Zombie Brother,” co-produced with Channing Tatum and Reid Carolin’s Free Association. The lineup is further evidence of Tencent’s intention to become a major content producer in addition to its role as a distribution and marketing platform.

If Chinese cinema’s recent up-and-down year is supposed to have dented the ambition of local film groups, this represents pushback by a company confident that its multimedia approach can take it much further than its rivals. Of the 43 projects, 20 are feature films; the rest are animation, TV series and made-for-Internet shows.

The announcement Sunday night at a glitzy event in Beijing marked the second anniversary of Tencent Pictures, just one of social-media-and-games giant Tencent’s initiatives in mainstream film and TV entertainment. Held at the spectacular Phoenix Center, the gathering was a tightly choreographed affair, with guests required to check in using QR codes and PIN numbers, and speakers making extensive use of autocue. The red carpet was draped across many levels of the glass and steel building and walked on by more than 100 onstage guests, as well as visiting talent and executives.

VIPs in attendance included talent David Goyer, Ge You, Zhang Guoli, Doze Niu, and Derek Yee. Executives included CAA’s Jonah Greenberg, Bona Film’s Yu Dong, Huayi Brothers’ James Wang, and Sony Pictures Entertainment’s Carrie Wong.

A video message from Tatum was among the highlights. “Zombie Brother” is an adaptation of the No. 1 title on Tencent’s digital comics platform and has already been adapted in China as a hit animated series and stage play, with Tencent and Free Association developing it for the international market. This is emblematic of Tencent Pictures’ strategy of building on the group’s stock of games, literature and web properties to create content.

Another multinational venture is “Tuzki,” an animated film based on a kinetic pink cartoon character owned by Tencent which has already appeared on food and beverage offerings and in the “Dragon Nest” film. Partners include Original Force, a U.S.-Chinese animation producer, and Turner Asia Pacific. Turner’s Asia finance director Clement Schwebig was on hand to promote the co-venture.

“We will make long-term investments in film and TV in order to build the Chinese industry. The success of movies helps build culture of our country and invigorates traditional culture,” said Mark Ren Yuxin, COO of Tencent and chairman of Tencent Pictures. “We have expanded from games, literature and animation. Now we are moving further into film and TV.”

Top Chinese director Lu Chuan unveiled his newest project ,“20000 Miles.” Having recently completed Disney Nature’s “Born in China,” Lu is again poised to make use of an international crew, including production designer Colin Gibson, for the picture. Taiwan’s Su Chaopin (writer of “The Crossing” and “Reign of Assassins”) is to make “Pathfinder,” a sci-fi moon exploration movie with a female villain.

Other upcoming projects include both film and TV serial versions of “The Tibet Code,” a movie version of “Qing Yu Nian” (aka “Chapter Five”), and series adaptations of “Mystery of the Antiques” and “Prince of Tennis.”

Strategic pacts were announced with New Classics Media, CKF Pictures and Haina Pictures. Other one-off projects entail collaboration with Hainan TV’s Mango Pictures, Perfect World Pictures and streaming video giant iQIYI, as well as with Tencent group companies Tencent Video and Penguin Pictures.

More Film

  • Danny Glover

    Danny Glover Joins 'Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle' Sequel

    Danny Glover has joined the cast of Sony’s “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” sequel. His role is being kept under wraps, as is the storyline. Glover will star opposite Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, and Karen Gillan, all of whom are set to return. Awkwafina is in final negotiations for a significant part in [...]

  • DJ Khaled Bad Boys

    DJ Khaled Joins 'Bad Boys' Sequel (EXCLUSIVE)

    DJ Khaled has rounded out the cast of Sony’s upcoming “Bad Boys” sequel “Bad Boys for Life,” joining returning stars Will Smith and Martin Lawrence. Khaled will also join series newcomers Vanessa Hudgens, Alexander Ludwig, Charles Melton, Jacob Scipio, and Paola Nuñez. Joe Pantoliano is on board to return as Captain Howard. Production is currently [...]

  • SAMUEL L. JACKSON in Glass. M.

    M. Night Shyamalan's 'Glass' to Break January's Slow Box Office Streak

    No plot twist here: M. Night Shyamalan’s thriller “Glass” will dominate the domestic box office. As this weekend’s lone wide release, “Glass” looks to be the de facto choice for moviegoers during the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. Now the only question is: how big of an opening can “Glass” pull off? Mediocre reviews don’t [...]

  • Iranian Film Festival NY Review: 'Sheeple'

    Iranian Film Festival New York Review: 'Sheeple'

    The cinema of Iran has often been marked by stylistic qualities of delicacy and restraint. It has found ways to speak loudly with a whisper. But “Sheeple,” the traumatically explosive closing-night selection of 1st Iranian Film Festival New York, amounts to a rather spectacular counterexample. It’s a drama set in the lower depths of society [...]

  • Sundance Film Festival Placeholder

    Sundance Film Festival Launches Talent Forum for Indie Creators

    The Sundance Film Festival is launching a new program to offer industry mentoring to under-represented and indie creators, the festival announced Tuesday. Based out of Park City, Utah’s Kimball Art Center, the program will include focused mentoring for filmmakers, writers, producers, and beyond, as well as keynote events with “Black Panther” director Ryan Coogler and [...]

  • Aisha Tyler

    Aisha Tyler to Host 2019 Directors Guild Awards

    The Directors Guild of America has selected Aisha Tyler to host its 71st annual DGA Awards on Feb. 2 at the Hollywood & Highland Center’s Ray Dolby Ballroom in Los Angeles. “We’re excited to have Aisha on board for the 71st annual DGA Awards,” said DGA president Thomas Schlamme. “She is ideally suited to host [...]

  • Caleb Landry JonesNY Premiere of "Three

    Caleb Landry Jones Joins Ralph Fiennes in 'The Forgiven' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Caleb Landry Jones will co-star with Ralph Fiennes, Rebecca Hall, and Mark Strong in “The Forgiven.” John Michael McDonagh is directing the film, which is an adaptation of the novel by Lawrence Osborne. It deals with the reverberations of a random accident on the lives of an English couple, their friends and local Moroccans who [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content