Interpret Weekly: Asia Entertainment 07/26/2021

Light Chaser Animation / Alibaba PicturesBona Film GroupAlpha Group

Green Snake, the Chinese animated sequel to the folktale adaptation White Snake, slithered past propaganda films to the top of the box office this weekend with a $29.7 million debut. The film is the latest work from the ever-improving local animation studio Light Chaser, and once again employs a video game-like aesthetic to tell the constantly reprised fable dating back to the Tang dynasty. In second place was the patriotic pandemic film Chinese Doctors, which grossed a further $17.5 million to bring its cumulative total up to $176 million.

A total of 20 million moviegoers were recorded in the first half of 2021, down 38.2% from the same period last year, according to the data by the Korean Film Council (KOFIC). It is the lowest half-year figure since the KOFIC started to compile box-office data in 2004. Theaters’ combined revenues slumped 32% on-year to 186.3 billion won ($161.9 million) for the January-June period.

Netflix has acquired Maureen Goos’ young adult romance I Believein a Thing Called Love for a feature film adaption, with Lee Byung-hun set to star and produce. The story follows Desi, an overachieving high school senior who decides to use the laws of K-drama romances to land herself a boyfriend. Lee will be playing Desi’s dad.

The previously announced new Dragon Ball movie has finally been given a title at Comic Con @Home: Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero. The new film, slated for 2022, will also feature an all-new character in addition to taking things in a more “super hero” direction.

Based in Sweden, Stunlock Studios is best known for free-to-play Battlerite, which climbed atop Steam’s sales chart. Tencent held a minority stake in the developer since 2019. The studio will continue creating games with no change to its business structure, while receiving Tencent’s strategic support. The deal comes one week after Tencent acquired Sumo Group for $1.3 billion.

Krafton Inc., South Korea’s game powerhouse behind PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG), has partnered with Hollywood film producer Adi Shankar to create an animated series based on the PUBG universe. Shankar has worked on various Hollywood blockbuster movies and is known for The Grey starring Liam Neeson.

Krafton said it is aiming for aggressive mergers and acquisitions after its IPO next month, as it eyes to expand its foothold in the global video game market. Krafton is scheduled to go public on the local bourse next month with a plan to raise as much as 4.3 trillion won ($3.73 billion).

In an unexpected crossover, miHoYo has announced that Aloy, from Horizon Zero Dawn, will be coming to Genshin Impact – for free, with no gacha mechanics required. This is the first crossover with a non-miHoYo-owned IP.

The State Administration of Market Regulation (SAMR) said it would bar Tencent from exclusive music copyright agreements and fined the company for unfair market practices in the online music market after its acquisition of China Music Corporation. SAMR said Tencent and its affiliated companies must not engage in exclusive copyright agreements with upstream owners of such rights, while existing agreements must be terminated within 30 days of the regulatory notice.

Several major luxury brands have severed ties with Kris Wu, a Chinese Canadian singer with a huge following, after an 18-year-old accused him of targeting and pressuring her and other young women for sex. The accusations, which Mr. Wu denied, have triggered widespread public outrage and thrown his career into tumult. Louis Vuitton, Bulgari, Porsche, and L’Oréal suspended or terminated contracts with Mr. Wu this week, after his accuser spoke out during an interview.

Chinese streaming platform iQiyi Inc. struck a broadcast rights deal with the English Premier League. The deal gives iQiyi exclusive new-media broadcast rights on the Chinese mainland and in Macao for four years of the league’s soccer games starting next month. iQiyi and the English Premier League didn’t disclose the terms of the deal.