Interpret Weekly #3

Universal PicturesShirogumi / Robot CommunicationsParamount Pictures

Disney’s Cruella strut into China on Sunday with a $1.78 million opening day, coming in sixth on a slow weekend behind reigning box office champ F9, which pulled in $8.89 million for a cumulative gross of $203 million. In second place over the weekend was 3D Japanese animation Stand by Me Doraemon 2, which grossed $7.72 million, bringing its total gross up to $36.4 million. A Quiet Place Part II slunk into third with $5.54 million. Following a $15 million opening, it has now grossed $29 million in the market.

China has shuttered a portion of cinemas in top movie-going province Guangdong after what reports said may be the country’s first community outbreak of the Indian COVID-19 variant. The province reported 31 new local cases on Sunday and Monday, with most found in the provincial capital of Guangzhou, home to 15 million residents, and nearby Foshan city, population 7 million.

The Shanghai International Film Festival, China’s longest-running major cinema event which shifted to a curtailed online offering last year amid the pandemic, is set to return with a sizable in-person edition June 11-June 20, with its Golden Goblet awards ceremony held in person in Shanghai on June 19.

South Korea enjoyed its biggest weekend box office of 2021 propelled with $7.1 million by a trio of Hollywood titles, a 10% improvement on the previous two weekends. The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It topped the chart with a $2.68 million haul. Cruella held on to second place for the second successive weekend with $2.21 million for a $5.68 million cumulative total since its May 26 debut. F9 fell from first place to third with $1.52 million over the weekend, pushing its cumulative total to $17.8 million.

The Vietnamese movie Bố Già (Dad, I’m Sorry) raked in around $350-380,000 over Memorial Day weekend after its release in U.S. cinemas on May 28th. Its performance is considered well above average for a limited-release movie. Strong showings are reported to be among Vietnamese communities in Southern California, Dallas, Houston, and Atlanta.

Bố Già is a major hit in Vietnam this year, marking itself as the highest-earning movie in Vietnam’s cinema history and currently expanding its distribution to international markets.

The Beijing Teenagers Law Aid and Research Center said it filed a lawsuit in a Beijing court on Tuesday, suing Tencent over what it alleges is inappropriate content for minors in Honor of Kings. In a posting on its social media account, the public-interest group said some of the game’s characters wore low-cut clothes and that its storyline tampered with historical figures and showed a lack of respect for traditional culture – all of which made the game inappropriate for young users.

Tencent opened a 53,000-square-foot office in Playa Vista that could house 300 employees. Over the next three years, the company says it will hire employees for the new office who work in video game design and development, programming, and data engineering.

OPPO announced that the company has signed a two-year strategic partnership deal with TJ Sports, becoming the official partner of the League of Legends Wild Rift Pro League from now until 2023. OPPO’s Reno 6 Pro+ will serve as the tournament’s official equipment for players.
OPPO is also one of the official sponsors of LPL, as well as the long-term global partner of Riot Games’s global event – the League of Legends World Championship, Mid-Season Invitational, and All-Star events.

Tencent announced it would close the server of its PC title Call of Duty Online on August 31, 2021. All current gamers are encouraged to migrate to Call of Duty Mobile and will be incentivized if they do so.

The soon-to-go-public Krafton, the label behind PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG), is making a fast ascension to threaten the top-tier publishers Nexon, NC Soft, and Netmarble. Krafton has generated $414.66 million in sales in the first quarter ended March, almost on par with the top three. In terms of income, it ascended to No. 2 after Nexon. The company is set to carry out closed alpha testing for the much-awaited PUBG: New State in the U.S. starting this week, with a goal of launching it globally within the year. It is a mobile sequel to PUBG Mobile.

Sony has formally introduced Team Asobi, the team behind the well-received Astro’s Playroom demo game that comes packaged with the PlayStation 5. In addition to sharing several fun facts about the team, Sony seems to indicate that the team will continue to focus on developing experimental titles that take advantage of the DualSense controller’s unique functionality. 

Foreign investors are now allowed to establish entertainment venues in China without investment restrictions or local partners, according to new legal amendments from China’s State Council, the country’s top governing body. Regulations previously stipulated that foreign investors could only participate in the entertainment venue business via joint ventures or cooperation with local counterparts in which a Chinese party acted as the controlling shareholder. Now it states simply that “foreign investors may establish entertainment venues in China in accordance with the law.” This change in wording appears to further formalize a previous 2019 legal amendment that in principle allowed foreign investors to wholly own cinemas. The new wording also broadens the policy out to all entertainment venues, not just movie theaters.

Appearances by Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, and the K-pop group BTS were dropped Thursday from different versions of the streaming show on the Chinese video platforms. Lady Gaga’s meeting with the Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama caused friction, as did Bieber posting a photo of the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, which honors Japan’s war dead, including war criminals. BTS has been annoying the Chinese government on everything from their style to their failure to mention China’s Korean War sacrifices.

South Korean entertainment powerhouse CJ ENM is eyeing a bigger role on the world stage, saying it will invest more than 5 trillion won ($4.5B) in content creation over the next five years. The company behind Bong Joon-ho’s Oscar winner Parasite and Fox’s I Can See Your Voice has already set aside 800B won ($721M) for productions this year.

CAA has sold a majority stake in Wiip, the producer behind HBO’s Mare of Easttown and Apple’s Dickinson, to Korean company JTBC Studios. It marks the first sale of an agency-backed studio after CAA and the other agencies agreed to end their standoff with the WGA and sell a majority interest in their content divisions. CAA, which was previously the majority owner of Wiip, will remain a minority shareholder in the Paul Lee-led company.