Hollywood worked for years to access and dominate Chinese movie theaters; now, the goal is to beam directly into the country’s hundreds of millions of homes.
Late Monday night, Lionsgate announced a deal with Chinese mega-corporation Alibaba to create a streaming service on the e-commerce companies new set-top box, which will give consumers in the country access to programming from the studio’s film and TV divisions.
Included in the deal are the films from the “Hunger Games,” “Divergent” and “Twilight” franchises, as well as TV shows like “Mad Men” and “Weeds.” In particular, the “Hunger Games” franchise is already a hit in China, with the most recent installment in the series, “Catching Fire,” having grossed nearly $28 million there.
“We’re pleased to collaborate with Alibaba, a world-class brand that is well known and respected among consumers throughout China,” Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer said. “Alibaba is the kind of entrepreneurial company with whom we like to be in business, and the launch of our streaming service in China underscores our commitment to innovation and leadership in delivering premium content to digital platforms around the world.”
The service will also gives subscribers access to special behind-the-scenes footage, screening invitations and special merchandise.
Alibaba, which will soon go public, is a massive presence in China, a company with revenues that surpass those of Amazon and eBay combined. It recently launched a crowd-funding service for films, and has invested heavily in media companies and online video services.