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‘xXx 4’ and ‘Brightburn’ Add Investment From Japan’s Rakuten

Japanese Internet and e-commerce giant Rakuten has come on board The H Collective’s “xXx 4” and Sony’s imminent release “Brightburn.” The two companies will also form a theatrical releasing venture in Japan.

Under the investment agreement, Rakuten has provided financing to “Brightburn,” The H Collective’s first globally released feature film. It stars Elizabeth Banks and is produced by James Gunn (“Guardians of the Galaxy”). Sony is releasing “Brightburn” on May 24 to coincide with Memorial Day Weekend in the U.S.

Rakuten will provide financing for the fourth installment of the “xXx” franchise, directed by D.J. Caruso, produced by The H Collective/Xtreme Pictures, and starring Vin Diesel as Xander Cage.

The theatrical joint venture will support the release of “Brightburn” and distribute “xXx 4” in Japan. It will also handle the animated film “Spycies,” which is directed by Guillaume Ivernel (“Dragon Hunters”) and produced by Chinese entertainment giant iQIYI with finance from The H Collective.

“Rakuten is one of the most exciting companies in the world. Having them invest in ‘Brightburn’ and ‘xXx 4,’ is a sign of their commitment to film investments,” said H Collective CEO Nic Crawley. “Japan is a fantastic market, ripe with distribution opportunities, given the rising quantity of cinema admissions.”

“This is the next step for Rakuten to empower the entertainment industry through strategic investment,” said Mickey Mikitani, CEO of Rakuten. The company has been operational in Japan for more than 20 years. In recent times it has sought to become a major player in the European video streaming sector through a combination of corporate acquisition and organic growth.

Following launches in March this year, on-demand service Rakuten TV is now available in more than 40 countries in Europe, including Spain, where it is headquartered, and France, Germany, Italy and the U.K.

Rakuten TV is also investing in content. The first project it invested in was “Hurricane.” The World War II action thriller stars “Game of Thrones” actor Iwan Rheon and “Hacksaw Ridge” actor Milo Gibson.

Los Angeles-based H Collective is also behind Christopher Cantwell’s thriller “The Parts You Lose,” starring Aaron Paul. It acquired the rights to Aaron W. Sala’s horror thriller spec script “The Beast,” for Christine Crokos to direct.

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