Interpret Weekly: Asia Entertainment 08/02/2021

Emperor Motion Pictures / Tencent PicturesHuayi BrothersLight Chaser Animation / Alibaba Pictures

Raging Fire stars Donnie Yen and was directed by Benny Chan – who became ill with cancer while shooting the film in 2019 and died in August 2020. The Huayi Brothers’ romantic drama Upcoming Summer, directed by Taiwanese filmmaker Leste Chen, opened in second position with $20.6 million. Light Chaser Animation’s Green Snake, which opened in first position last weekend, came in third with $10.8 million for a cumulative total of $56.8 million.

Nationalist users on Chinese social media platform Weibo have attacked foreign consulates in the southern capital of Guangzhou for seeking to “bring down China” with an LGBTQ film festival jointly hosted by 17 foreign governments. Foreign embassies in China frequently host film screenings, talks, and cultural events about sensitive topics that typically couldn’t take place outside their premises. The month-long “2021 LGBTI Film Festival Guangzhou” begins Saturday and consists of 18 one-off screenings of films and shorts on LGBTQ topics at different foreign consulates.

As Asia’s biggest game fair, more than 300 firms are displaying the latest games and gear in a hall with an exhibition space of over 120,000 square meters. As an urgent notice released by organizers, 48-hour negative nucleic acid test results are required for admission, as China has reported more locally-transmitted COVID-19 cases recently.

Sony displayed PlayStation 5 models and the latest games, including Sackboy: A Big Adventure, a game set to debut in the Chinese market in August. China Mobile’s Migu announced a strategic partnership with Xiaomi, Kingsoft Cloud, and Pyou for cloud gaming; a deal worth $1.56 billion.

Riot announced a new studio in Shanghai with a focus on developing new games for a global audience. The Shanghai studio will hire “hundreds” of roles. Leo Lin, VP and head of China for Riot Games says the company is focusing on mobile gaming moving forward and has confidence in League of Legends: Wild Rift, which is a “big move” and a “big bet.”

Following Riot’s announcement of its new Shanghai-based studio, domestic developer Funplus, the company behind King of Avalon and Guns of Glory, has set up an independent firm, QuJia Entertainment, in Shanghai’s Xuhui District, targeting the local market with games, investment, and esports business.

According to a report issued by the state-run China Audio-Video and Digital Publishing Association, Shanghai’s gaming industry index reached 79 points, beating Guangzhou’s 71.5 points and Beijing’s 69.8 points. The index covers infrastructure, policy, talent, and other business environment sectors for game development. Since 2017, Shanghai has launched “50 Measures” to support game and culture development. Xuhui District has become the home for headquarters and regional centers for companies like Tencent, NetEase, miHoyo, Giant, Yoozoo, and now QuJia Entertainment.

According to the latest report from the China Audio-Video and Digital Publishing Association, in the first half of 2021, China’s gaming market revenue hit $23.3 billion yuan, up 7.9% from a year earlier. The mobile market amassed $17.7 billion, up 9.6% from 2020. Chinese game developers generated revenue of $8.5 billion in overseas markets, up 11.6% from a year ago, with the US, Japan, and Korea being the top three markets, accounting for nearly 60% of the overseas revenue.

By June, China’s game userbase reached 667 million, representing a growth of only 1.4%. Esports users reached 489 million, up 1.1% from 2020. 

Two major esports leagues will partner to create joint esports content, under a new slogan “Esports No Boundary.” Leo Liao, president of Peace Elite League (PEL) and managing director of Tencent, said that the partnership will begin on Aug. 19, when PEL Season 3 officially starts.

Smilegate plans to work together with That’s No Moon on developing a new AAA narrative-driven game in the action-adventure genre. Based in Los Angeles, That’s No Moon is headed by Michael Mumbauer, former head of PlayStation’s Visual Arts Group.

Nexon founder Kim Jung-ju has decided to step down as CEO, ending his 16-year leadership at the company. His departure comes as Nexon is feeling pressured to improve and adjust its external communication policies after a series of internal controversies. In an unusual choice, the outgoing CEO’s successor is former communication expert Lee Jae-kyo, who has handled NXC’s public relations strategy.

Wu is one of China’s most high-profile celebrities. Within 25 minutes, the breaking news garnered more than 3.33 million likes and the hashtag “Wu Yifan has been detained” became the number one hot search on China’s Twitter-like Weibo platform. Since early July, a 19-year-old college student has been posting allegations on social media that Wu purportedly got her drunk at a party and date raped her, and that he has done the same to at least seven other young women, often found via casting calls or selected from his fan groups. Even though Wu denied all the allegations, global brands including Porsche, Lancôme, Louis Vuitton, and Bulgari have dumped his endorsement deals, and China’s top official news outlets have directly rebuked him.

The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman said during an interview that he is pleased to expand the world of Summoners War to various other fields. Com2us published the short animation Summoners War: Friends and Rivals last year and comic book series Summomers War: Legacy in April with Skybound.

After two years of virtual events due to the pandemic, The Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation (SPJA) has announced the planned return of an in-person Anime Expo in 2022. 2021’s Anime Expo Lite marked the 30th anniversary of North America’s largest anime convention.