×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Alibaba Pictures Losses Reach $165 Million

More-than-doubled revenue, better margins, and a tiny maiden profit at its content production arm helped Alibaba Pictures put a brave face on losses that grew to $165 million (RMB1.05 billion) in the 12 months to December 2017.

The separately listed company contains most of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba’s interests in the film industry, but excludes Youku, Alibaba’s loss-making streaming video division. Parent company Alibaba recently took a $2.87 billion (RMB18.1 billion) write-down on the value of its holding in Alibaba Pictures.

Alibaba Pictures presented the figures as a second interim series, as it is changing its financial year to March. Revenue was up from $142 million (RMB905 million) in calendar 2016 to $373 million (RMB2.37 billion) in the 12 months to December. Losses deepened from $154 million (RMB976 million).

“Having invested strategically to build the foundations of its entertainment ecosystem over the past few years, the Group experienced material business progress in 2017,” the company said in a statement.

Most of the revenue growth came from Tao Piao Piao, the online ticketing business transferred to Alibaba Pictures  from Alibaba in July. It saw revenues nearly triple – to $310 million (RMB1.97 billion) – and losses nearly halved. They dropped to $55.3 million (RMB351 million) in 2017, from $95.6 million (RMB607 million) in 2016.

Online ticketing now represents 82% of cinema ticket sales, Alibaba says. Dominance in that field allows Tao Piao Piao to sell its services in promotion, marketing and distribution, and to describe it as a “social platform” instead of a “ticketing platform.” It participated in the marketing of “The Adventurers,” “Dunkirk” and “A Dog’s Purpose,” a film that was produced by Alibaba Pictures-backed Amblin Partners and scored over $95 million (RMB600 million) at the Chinese box office.

The content segment saw its revenue rise to $53.7 million (RMB341 million) and make a profit of $650,000 (RMB4.1 million) in 2017, a significant improvement from a loss of $38.4 million (RMB244 million) in 2016 on $33.3 million (RMB212 million) of revenue.

Alibaba Pictures titles released in 2017 included “Mr. Pride Vs Miss Prejudice” (which earned RMB124 million, or $19.5 million at the Chinese box office) and “Once Upon a Time” (RMB534 million, or $84.1 million). Films in which Alibaba Pictures had a minority finance position included “This Is Not What I Expected” (RMB210 million, or $33 million) and “Paradox” (RMB523 million or $83.4 million). TV content delivered included “Ugly Girl Hai Ru Hua,” which was released by Youku.

The merchandising and licensing business recorded revenue of $8.58 million (RMB54.5 million) and profit of $4.83 million (RMB30.7 million), up from revenue of $945,000 (RMB6.0 million) and loss of $2.36 million (RMB15.0 million) in 2016.

The company expects to move forward through ever-greater collaboration with Alibaba. “The collaboration will not be limited to Alibaba Group’s media and digital entertainment matrix, but also extend to its e-commerce platforms, and also Ant Financial Services. All of these platforms have established large user bases, who have an increasing demand for media and entertainment content. We are confident and excited about the growth prospects of the industry and [of Alibaba Pictures],” said Fan Luyuan, who took over as CEO in August.

His mission is “building a technology driven infrastructure for improving the efficiency of the industry,” the company said.

More Film

  • Aquaman 2018

    'Aquaman' Crosses $250 Million at Foreign Box Office

    Things are going swimmingly at the box office for “Aquaman” as the Warner Bros.’ superhero flick hits another major milestone overseas. James Wan’s take on the ruler of the seven seas just passed $250 million internationally, and a weekend haul of $126.4 million from 43 territories brings its foreign tally to $261.3 million. “Aquaman” — [...]

  • Mortal Engines

    'Mortal Engines' to Lose More Than $100 Million at Box Office

    “Mortal Engines,” a steampunk fantasy adventure, is also an epic flop. With a budget of just over $100 million and tens of millions in global marketing costs, executives at rival studios estimate that the movie will lose upwards of $100 million. Some even project that number could float to more than $125 million. “Mortal Engines” [...]

  • Thierry Frémaux, José Luis Rebordinos Honored

    Thierry Frémaux, José Luis Rebordinos Named Honorary Argentine Academy Members

    BUENOS AIRES — In a ceremony just before Friday’s prize announcements at Ventana Sur, Cannes chief Thierry Frémaux and José Luis Rebordinos, director of the San Sebastian Festival, were named honorary members of Argentina’s Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, in a new move for the Academy, out through by its new president, Bernardo [...]

  • Nona

    Film Review: 'Nona'

    Twenty years and 12 features down the line, it’s still hard to peg the directorial sensibility of Michael Polish, with or without the presence of brother Mark as frequent co-writer and actor. His output has been all over the place, from early Lynchian quirkfests to the very middle-of-the-road inspirational dramedy “The Astronaut Farmer,” not to [...]

  • Pawel Pawlikowski "Cold War"

    Pawel Pawlikowski's 'Cold War' Wins for Best Film, Director at European Film Awards

    “Cold War,” Pawel Pawlikowski’s black-and-white romance set in the 1950s, scooped the prizes for best film, director and screenplay at the 31st edition of the European Film Awards on Saturday. “Cold War” star Joanna Kulig also won the award for best actress. Marcello Fonte, the star of Matteo Garrone’s “Dogman,” won for best actor. Armando Iannucci’s [...]

  • The Favourite Bohemian Rapsody Star is

    The Best Movie Scenes of 2018

    When we think back on a movie that transported us, we often focus on a great scene — or maybe the greatest scene — in it. It’s natural. Those scenes are more than just defining. They can be the moment that lifts a movie into the stratosphere, that takes it to the higher reaches of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content