Interpret Weekly: Asia Entertainment 08/16/2021

Emperor Motion Pictures / Tencent Pictures Huayi Brothers Light Chaser Animation / Alibaba Pictures

The film marks the first Hollywood studio release in the country in over two and a half months, though Luca also has been widely available on Chinese piracy networks since Disney released it over Disney+ in June. China’s film regulators have been instituting a longer-than-usual blackout on major foreign film releases in deference to the celebrations surrounding this summer’s 100th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party. The last U.S. film to release in China was Sony’s Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway way back on June 11.

Comedy -action movie Sinkhole lifted the South Korea box office over the weekend with a $5.58 million start in theaters. The debut was the highest weekend score this year by a local Korean movie and trailed only Black Widow and F9. Including traffic from the Wednesday release, the film has a five-day cumulative score of $7.77 million, making it already the eighth-highest grossing film of the year in Korea.

Disney’s Free Guy opened in third place with a weekend score of $934,000. Its five-day total added up to $1.37 million. The Suicide Squad slipped from second to fourth place with a 78% tumble in its second week. It earned just $367,000 and has a disappointing cumulative total of $3.43 million since its Aug. 4 release.

Park Seo-joon, the star of Midnight Runners (2017) and the JTBC drama Itaewon Class, has been cast in The Marvels, an upcoming film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and a direct sequel to Captain Marvel.

Creator of the beloved basketball series Slam Dunk is set to personally write and direct on the film for Toei Animation. The film’s title is still to be determined.

NetEase released Naraka: Bladepoint globally last week, a 60-player action battle royale-style game in which gamers compete to be the last player standing. The game, according to Hu Zhipeng, Vice President at NetEase, is targeting international gamers. NetEase hopes that 50% of its gaming revenue will come from overseas in the future, up from around 10% now. To achieve that, NetEase is looking at using famous brands or IPs as it is developing games based on The Lord of the Rings as well as the Harry Potter series.

Krafton raised $3.75 billion in a public offering, but the maker of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) saw its share price close 9% down in the first day of trading Tuesday. The South Korean company tried to go out with a valuation that was too high, and investors balked. The company debuted at $432 a share, but shares at the very outset traded at 9.9% below that price. They tumbled as much as 20% before recovering and closing down 8.8%. At the closing price, the valuation was $19.32 billion.

iQiyi, China’s second-largest generalist subscription video platform, weighed in with net losses of $216 million in Q2 2021, compared with losses of $222 million in the April to June period in 2020. Revenues also improved fractionally to $1.17 billion. Net subscriptions increased to 105.2 million compared with 104.9 reported in the same slot last year. The company congratulated itself on achieving subscription growth in a normally quiet quarter, helped by the appeal of its original drama series, and on delivering a fifth successive quarter in which losses were reduced on a year-on-year basis.

Kuaishou Technology, a Chinese firm perceived as a ByteDance rival by many, said it will shut down its controversial short-form video app Zynn later this month. The app was only available in the U.S. The firm, which last month said it had amassed 1 billion monthly active users, was found to pay users to watch videos to superficially improve its ranking on the U.S. iOS App Store. The app was also pulled from the Play Store after reports found the platform was riddled with videos that were stolen from other apps. It was then pulled from the Apple App Store following similar complaints.

Disney revealed Thursday that its streaming service Disney+ will launch in South Korea, Hong Kong, and Taiwan in November 2021. The addition of the three mature Asian markets should provide yet another subscriber uptick for the nascent direct-to-consumer service, which beat analyst estimates during its third-quarter earnings report this week, adding 13 million subscribers for a total of 116 million – 1 million more than was expected.

China is readying a blacklist for karaoke songs in order to ban tracks featuring “illegal” content, its Ministry of Culture and Tourism said. Such content includes anything that harms national unity, sovereignty or territorial integrity, endangers national security or harms national honor, incites ethnic hatred or undermines ethnic unity, violates religious policies, promotes illegal activities like gambling or drugs, or runs “contrary to public morality,” it stated in vague terms that can be widely interpreted.