Interpret Weekly: Asia Entertainment 06/28/2021

Tencent Pictures / Shanghai Film GroupCalendar Studios / Zhong Creation Film CultureShanxi Tourism Group

Star-powered propaganda flick 1921 hit number one at the Chinese box office this week, bringing in $11.6 million from pre-screenings ahead of its July 1 debut. The film was created as a tribute to the country’s ruling Communist Party on the July 1 occasion of the 100th anniversary of its founding.

Columbia Pictures’ Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway hopped into fourth with a $3.5 million weekend, off just 9% for a local cumulative total of $22 million.

Busan-set chase thriller Hard Hit this weekend became the first local film to head the South Korean box office in more than a month. It earned $2.27 million in its opening weekend. The arrival of a significant, commercial film from Korea may be a sign of growing confidence that the return to business of the seriously dented exhibition and distribution sectors is now gaining momentum. The nationwide weekend total of $7.14 million was, narrowly, the biggest box office weekend of the year.

Contents Panda, the sales arm of Next Entertainment World, has added comedy horror film Oh My Ghost to its burgeoning Cannes Market lineup. The company will not physically be in Cannes and will concentrate on the pre-Cannes online version of the market instead.

South Korea’s film production sector is bouncing back to life after a hiatus caused by multiple waves of the coronavirus that created disruption. That means a large number of films were able to shoot or resume their disrupted productions, and in turn, there are now many films in post-production.

The studio behind mobile game hits Call of Duty Mobile and Honor of Kings will open their new office later this year in Bellevue, Washington. The company hired game dev veterans Scott Warner (former design director for Halo 4) and Rosi Zagorcheva (previously head of development and operations for EA’s DICE L.A. studio) last year, and they have already built a team of 25 people. TiMi Seattle will work on multi-platform triple-A games.

Yager is best known as the developer of third-person shooter Spec Ops: The Line, published by 2K in 2012. The studio is currently working on The Cycle, a free-to-play sci-fi shooter currently in early access. The title is slated to release in Q3, 2021. Tencent’s acquisition follows a strategic investment that the Chinese firm made in Yager at the beginning of 2020.

During the recent Tencent Esports Global Summit, Tencent Esports announced a couple of key partnerships: it extended the deal with Canadian fast-food restaurant chain Tim Hortons, under which the two companies will establish a co-branded flagship store in Shenzhen, where customers can watch esports competitions; the company will work with IKEA on co-branded home furniture, such as gaming chairs, hardware storage walls, and desks; the deal with Hong Kong-based luxury hotel group Shangri-La includes the introduction of esports-themed hotel rooms, with each room starting at around $250 per day.

Square Enix will be simultaneously releasing anime series Deep Insanity THE LOST CHILD, manga Deep Insanity Nirvana, and mobile game Deep Insanity Asylum. The collection of media will tell the story of a world ravaged by the “Randolph Syndrome” and the discovery of an underground world under Antarctica that contains alien lifeforms and previously undiscovered resources.

Square Enix is reportedly partnering with French studio Cyber Group Studios to adapt a Final Fantasy 9 anime. It will be in production by the end of 2021 or the beginning of 2022, and will reportedly be aimed towards children between the ages of 8 and 13.

The Canadian storytelling app Wattpad has merged its film, TV, and books studio with Webtoon Studios, the entertainment division of Webtoon, the digital comics platform run by Naver, the South Korean Internet conglomerate.

The tie-up to create Wattpad Webtoon Studios was expected after Naver acquired Wattpad for $600 million to create a platform with a joint global monthly audience of 160 million users. Naver has committed $100 million in development and production financing to greenlight projects for the newly-combined studio, under the leadership of Aron Levitz as president.