China’s Youku Tudou partners with Disney/Marvel

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Asia / Pacific Roundabout

China’s leading Internet television company, Youku Tudou Inc., has partnered with Disney to be the exclusive online movie-marketing platform in China for the U.S. studio’s Marvel collection of movies and TV series. The cooperation is expected to boost the popularity of Disney’s Marvel brand in China as well as further cement Youku Tudou’s position as the country’s number-one online video platform by driving online marketing through film trailers, online ticketing, live events and original programming dedicated to big-screen movies.

Youku Tudou claims to currently have 500 million unique monthly users across its online entertainment channels, which according to the company results in greater promotional impact than traditional offline movie advertising. Marvel and other Disney titles seem to resonate particularly well with Youku Tudou’s audiences, with so far over 530 million cumulative views across the firm’s various media offerings including streaming movies and television series, trailers and original programming.

The company said in a press statement that its online marketing efforts were able to considerably boost the box-office revenues of Avengers: Age of Ultron and Guardians of the Galaxy. In the case of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, online marketing even helped raise box-office takings to almost RMB800 million (approx. $160 mil.), compared to the merely RMB80 million raked in by the franchise’s previous installment.

While the trailers and original productions for Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy had garnered more than 41 million cumulative views on the Youku Tudou platform, including over 15.8 million combined VOD views, the Avengers: Age of Ultron trailers and original productions received over 25.7 million cumulative views, with the movie currently still in theatres.

“We are committed to expanding our media and entertainment ecosystem by working with strong partners. These partnerships, like the one with Disney, are multifold and give Youku Tudou the opportunity to use its strengths to further its business model and drive future revenue streams through high-quality content, innovative marketing efforts, and merchandising channels,” said Victor Koo, chairman and CEO of Youku Tudou.

NYSE-traded Youku Tudou Inc. operates the Youku and Tudou Internet television platforms, which enable users to search, view and share high-quality video content quickly and easily across multiple devices. Youku and Tudou are considered the most recognized online entertainment brands in China.

SIFF Wraps with Golden Goblet Winners

The 18th Shanghai International Film Festival (SIFF) on June 21 announced the winners of its prestigious Golden Goblet Awards, concluding the nine day-long celebration of film in the eastern port city with an exclusive closing red carpet and awards ceremony.

Putting a focus on Asian and Chinese cinema and new talent, SIFF continued to promote the development of the film industry not only through its Golden Goblet and Asian New Talent trophies but also through numerous film screenings, forums, market events and other activities supporting emerging filmmakers.

This year, the festival received a record-breaking 2,096 film submissions from 108 countries. A total of 391 films were publicly screened on 51 screens in 45 movie theatres spread out across 17 city districts, reaching an audience of over 300,000 and earning nearly RMB18 million ($3.6 mil.) at the box office.

After a careful selection process, the grand jury panel headed by Russian director Andrey Zvyagintsev presented the Golden Goblet Awards to the following recipients:

Best Feature Film: The Night Watchman (France/Belgium), directed by Pierre Jolivet;

Jury Grand Prix: Carte Blanche (Poland), directed by Jacek Lusinski;

Best Director: Cao Baoping for The Dead End (China);

Best Actors: Deng Chao, Duan Yihong, and Guo Tao, all three starring in The Dead End;

Best Actress: Krista Kosonen in The Midwife (Finland/Lithuania), directed byAntti Jokinen;

Best Screenplay: Patrick Tobin for Cake (USA), directed by Daniel Barnz;

Best Cinematography: Vladislav Opeliyants for Sunstroke (Russia), directed by Nikita Mikhalkov;

Outstanding Artistic Achievement: The Shameless (South Korea), directed by Oh Seung-uk;

Best Animated Film: Song of the Sea (Ireland/Belgium/Denmark/France/Luxembourg), directed by Tomm Moore;

Best Documentary Film: The Verse of Us (China), directed by Wu Feiyue and Qin Xiaoyu.

IMAX China and CMC to Establish Film Fund

IMAX China (Hong Kong) Limited and its minority shareholder, Mainland film screening technology giant China Media Capital (CMC), announced plans to jointly establish the China Film Fund, comprising an initial minimum amount of $50 million. The fund intends to help finance at least ten Mandarin-language IMAX productions during its first year of operation, with each selected project to receive between $3 million and $7 million in assistance. According to a statement by IMAX China (Hong Kong), the fund’s aim is to"leverage the IMAX brand, relationships, technology and release windows with the flexibility to produce IMAX and non-IMAX content and develop original films or co-finance studio productions."

Burgeoning China is one of the main markets for the IMAX cinematic format and IMAX China (Hong Kong) currently operates 205 screens across the nation. But apart from foreign IMAX films being shown in the country, Chinese studios also contribute a fair share of their own productions shot in the format. The latest local film in IMAX 3D to hit national screens was action-packed historical drama Monk Comes Down the Mountain, which premiered on July 3.

IMAX China (Hong Kong) Limited is a subsidiary of U.S.-based IMAX Corporation, and CMC acquired a 10% stake in the company last year.

For inquiries and feedback, contact Thomas Schmid at thomas.schmid@filmjournal.com.