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Huayi Tencent Entertainment has invested a total of $4.2 million in “The Victory,” South Korea’s first space sci fi film mainly backed by Korean company Merry Christmas. T investment gives Huayi Tencent Entertainment an ownership position in the film and distribution rights in mainland China.

China and South Korea have had frosty political relations for the past three years and the import of Korean films into China has dried up. In its recently published annual report Huayi Tencent said: “We are of the view that the situation may gradually improve.”

“The Victory” is to be directed by Jo Sung-hee (“A Werewolf Boy”) and star Kim Tae-ri (“The Handmaiden”) and Song Joong-ki (“The Battleship Island”). Production begins next month with an anticipated release in 2020.

Huayi Tencent is a Hong Kong stockmarket-listed company that is 18% owned by leading Chinese film studio Huayi Bros Media. Huayi Tencent and Huayi Brothers recently signed a agreement that spans joint film funding and sees Huayi handle the China distribution of Huayi Tencent properties. The deal runs until the end of 2021.

“It means a lot that Huayi has agreed with [my] vision to make ‘Victory’ a super IP that can be developed into various content forms including web cartoon, [TV] series, and game,” said Merry Christmas CEO You Jeong-hun in a statement.

“We are very happy to support Korea’s first space sci-fi film, equipped with an original view of the world that we could see from the script; great directing capabilities proven by director Jo’s previous films; and with an amazing cast,” said Huayi Tencent Entertainment director Hu Jun Yi.