Interpret Weekly: Asia Entertainment 09/27/2021

China Film Co. China Film Co. 20th Century Studios

Legendary/Warner Bros.’ Dune will be opening day-and-date with the U.S. in China on Oct. 22 while Daniel Craig’s swan song as James Bond, No Time to Die, will open on Oct. 29. Both of these movies come after the October 1 Chinese National Day holiday which will see local pics, so these will be the first big Hollywood movies since Free Guy. Meanwhile, it looks like Disney/Marvel features Black Widow and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings won’t be getting Chinese release dates.

The cumulative box office for the period this year was only $73 million. That would make it the lowest earning Mid-Autumn Festival since 2014. The pandemic rebound and the lack of strong domestic & international titles were the main reasons for the bleak market.

The nearly three-hour-long historical epic is a grind through the blood, sweat, and tears of the real-life People’s Volunteer Army as they fight against all odds to defeat the U.S. army at the titular lake during the Korean War. The title is co-directed by heavyweights Chen Kaige, Dante Lam, and Tsui Hark and headlined by actors Wu Jing (Wolf Warrior 2) and Jackson Yee (Better Days). The film will hit theaters nationwide on Sept. 30 in time for the important week-long National Day holiday that begins Oct. 1.

Local thriller On the Line held on to the top spot on the South Korean box office charts. But its weak total showed that the boost to cinemas from the Chuseok holidays had been short-lived. On the Line managed $1.56 million in its second weekend, a score which was only 28% down from its debut. That gave it a 39% share of the weekend total, ahead of Miracle: Letters to the President with $647,000 and a 16% share, and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings with $529,000 and a 13% share.

Days after Squid Game became the first Korean drama series to rank first on Netflix’s US top 10 TV shows list, Netflix has unveiled its line-up of Korean programming for the upcoming months, spotlighting 10 drama series and reality shows. The upcoming content offered on Netflix include Paik’s Spirit, which will become Netflix’s first reality series focusing on Korean drinks, food, and culture, and My Name, a crime-thriller starring Korean actor Han So-hee. The shows will be released on Oct. 1 and Oct. 15, respectively.

The Super Mario Bros. film hails from Nintendo and Illumination, with Universal distributing in North America and co-financing with Illumination. It plans to release in North American on December 21, 2022.

China’s state-backed gaming industry association and 213 video gaming companies, including Tencent and NetEase, issued a self-regulation pact on Thursday, pledging to follow Beijing’s mandate to fight video game addiction by filtering unhealthy content and boycotting overseas platforms. The document professes the companies’ commitment to incorporating anti-addiction features into video games – including single-player and console games. Companies are also pledging to stop offering account rentals and gaming companion services to young players. The document asserts companies’ commitments to ban various types of content recently targeted by authorities, including “effeminate men,” money worship and “gay love.”

Kirby and the Forgotten Land is a new adventure starring the pink puffball, and it has a planned release date of Spring 2022. The first trailer showed Kirby freely exploring 3D areas, which included an abandoned urban city, an arcade, and some lush jungles.

The Universal Beijing Resort finally had its grand opening last Monday, the culmination of a 20-year wait and further pandemic-related delays. The Park has proven a big hit with Chinese consumers so far – tickets for Monday’s opening were sold out in minutes, quickly followed by tickets for the week-long National Day holiday coming up on Oct. 1, with demand so strong that it crashed the site. The opening gives the Chinese capital a U.S-branded park of its own to compete with the Disneylands in Shanghai and Hong Kong. It is the fifth Universal theme park globally, the third park in Asia, and first in China.

The new TikTok-style app called Xiao Qu Xing — meaning Little Fun Star in English — will provide short videos on subjects ranging from science to general knowledge curated by the platform. Unlike TikTok, users cannot share or upload videos on Xiao Qu Xing and are only allowed 30 minutes of screen time on weekdays and 40 minutes during weekends. ByteDance’s announcement on Xiao Qu Xing came just a day after it rolled out the “teenage mode” for users under the age of 14 on its immensely popular platform Douyin (Chinese version of TikTok).

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba is poised to sell its 5% stake in Mango Excellent Media, which owns the highly popular Mango TV network. The move comes less than a year after Alibaba received state permission to buy the stake for $960 million at current exchange rates and become Mango’s second largest stakeholder. The December 2020 deal was unusual in that it created a connection between two of China’s top streaming platforms. Alibaba is the outright owner of Youku, China’s third ranked SVOD platform. It also meant that a private company was buying into a state-controlled media group – Mango is controlled by the regionally-owned Hunan Broadcasting System.