Alibaba is diving into Hollywood.
According to a report from the LA Times, the Chinese e-commerce giant is investing in two more Hollywood summer films through its subsidiary Alibaba Pictures. Both “Star Trek Beyond” and “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows” will receive investments according to the LA Times, but Alibaba did not disclose the amount.
This marks the second and third time Alibaba Pictures has invested in a US production after doing so with “Mission Impossible: Rouge Nation” in 2015.
The ventures are seen as something between wasteful passion projects and legitimate attempts to diversify the business, depending on who you ask. Either way, the company has reiterated that the moves are legitimate outgrowths of the business.
The side projects’ success is becoming increasingly important, however, due to the slowing user growth that the company is facing in China, its host country. This has prompted the move to films, a push into non-US markets, and a serious stock price decline in the US over the past year.
Beyond Alibaba’s fortunes, the Chinese firm’s foray into film could be a boon for both the “Star Trek” and “TMNT” franchises. China is increasingly becoming a huge market for US films, and tapping into the market is important. Blockbusters have even begun to include some China-only scenes in order to be more attractive to regulators and audiences in the country.
According to the LA Times report, both films’ previous outings — “Star Trek into Darkness” and “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” — earned approximately 12% of their total gross in China
Both films will also receive distribution from Alibaba’s Taobao Movie platform which is akin to Netflix or Amazon Prime Video said the Times.