'La La Land’ Lands Tencent as Strategic Partner for China Release

2017/1/18 10:27:00 (Beijing Time)   Source:Variety    By:Patrick Frater

Chinese social media and games giant, Tencent has come on board Lionsgate’s “La La Land” as a partner for the film’s upcoming release in mainland China.

The partnership is directed through the group’s one year-old film arm Tencent Pictures. It is Tencent Pictures’ second such deal with a Hollywood film, following “Warcraft” in mid-2016. The deal is of a strategic nature and does not see Tencent owning an equity stake in the movie.

According to Tencent, “La La Land” is to be imported on flat fee terms and is not one of the annual imported movies that are entitled to revenue sharing terms with the foreign rights owner. The release will be handled by China Film Co., supported by Joy Pictures and Baian Film.

Last week it emerged that the awards favorite film had been cleared for theatrical release in China after being approved by censors. It is set for an outing on Tuesday, Feb. 14.

As well as being Valentine’s Day, that also positions the film well to pick up screens after the raft of Chinese New Year releases lose steam. And it could benefit from awards heat. The Oscars ceremony  come nearly two weeks after “La La Land” opens. The ceremony is on Sunday Feb. 27, which falls on the morning of Monday Feb. 28 in China. While the Oscars are the overseas awards with by far the most meaning for Chinese audiences,online posters have emerged touting the film’s seven honors at the Golden Globes.

Tencent operates the massive WeChat and QQ messaging services, which each have over 800 million subscribers. Additionally, Tencent has investment stakes in online ticketing services and payment gateways. It is also the country’s largest digital music operator — a likely bonus for a musical film.

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