Interpret Weekly: Asia Entertainment 11/15/2021

Maoyan Entertainment / UniMedia Edko Films Bona Film Group

Jungle Cruise finally opened in China, over three months after its theatrical and Disney+ premium streaming release in the U.S. The film opened to a paltry $3.3 million. James Bond’s latest installment No Time to Die added $4.4 million in its fourth frame, taking its China total to a healthy $58 million.

This marks the eighth time China has chosen Zhang Yimou’s work for the Academy’s consideration. China has submitted 34 entries to the Oscars but only been nominated twice — once for Zhang’s Ju Dou and once for his Hero.

Eternals attracted a combined 501,000 people from Friday to Sunday, accounting for 55.9 percent of the period’s total ticket sales at local theaters.

Krafton reported on Thursday its operating income added 12.1% on quarter and 16.5% on year to $165 million. Net income surged 26.2% on quarter and 62.1% on year. The label could receive a further boost in the fourth quarter as it is readying PUBG: New State after the Oct. 5 global launch of Castle Craft: World War.

NCSoft shares declined Friday morning amid profit-taking after a 30-percent jump in the previous session, buoyed by the buzz of a new release that will employ non-fungible token (NFT) technology despite unsatisfactory earnings in the third quarter. NCSoft said its operating profit shriveled 56% on year and revenue 14.5% due to tepid market responses to its new title Blade & Soul 2 and the excessive pay-to-win billing model in its flagship series Lineage which has chased away gamers in droves.

Tencent has acquired a majority stake in Wake Up Interactive, the parent company of development studio Soleil, the studio best known for its work on the Nintendo Switch exclusive Ninjala, Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes, Naruto to Boruto: Shinobi Striker, and Devil’s Third, among others. Tencent is reportedly paying more than $43.8 million for a 90% stake in Wake Up.

Tencent’s third-quarter revenue climbed 13% to $22.3 billion. Net profit rose 3% to $6.18 billion. Sales from mobile games rose 9%. Domestic games revenue grew by 5%, while international games revenue rose 20%, boosted by games such as Valorant and Clash of Clans. China’s largest company by market value has been hit on multiple fronts by new regulations, including limits on the amount of time children can spend playing video games. Curbs on other industries such as education have also dampened advertising appetite. In addition, the Chinese government has not approved any new games since August.

Chinese authorities announced this week that a major $8 billion Paramount theme park resort and arts complex will be built on the shores of Dianchi Lake in southwestern Yunnan province’s capital city Kunming. The Paramount resort will span an area of 643 acres out of the broader Paramount-branded development project’s total 1,899 acres. That will make it Hollywood’s third largest theme resort in China, following Shanghai Disneyland, which clocks in at 963 acres, and the 990-acre Universal Beijing Resort. Construction is expected to span a period of about 42 months, aiming for a June 2024 completion.

Naver Webtoon, online comic publisher under Korea’s top internet platform Naver, has signed about 40 contracts with overseas publishers to publish paper-version webtoons since 2014, and more than half of them have been concluded in the past year thanks to the growing popularity of webtoons-turned-books in the global market. The global digital web comics market is growing at an average of 8% each year and is estimated to reach $1.34 billion by 2022. However, the digital segment still accounts for 18.5% of the entire comics market valued at $7.27 billion, according to the Korea Creative Content Agency.

Netflix has enlisted Hirokazu Kore-eda, arguably Japan’s most esteemed contemporary auteur, to direct both a series and a feature film. The projects, still in development, will be the director’s first works for a streaming platform. Kore-eda’s films have been earning plaudits on the international festival circuit since the early 2000s, but his career hit new heights in 2018 when his Shoplifters won both the Cannes Palme d’Or and was nominated for an Oscar.

The Kore-eda announcement served as the capstone to Netflix’s two-day content showcase in Japan, where an emphasis was placed on a new effort by the company to boost its output of Japanese original filmmaking. Overall, Netflix vowed to add an additional 50 pieces of Japanese content, either series or films, to the 90 Netflix-branded Japanese titles currently offered on its service.

In Korea, the service joins a crowded and highly competitive market where Apple TV Plus launched only last week. Disney Plus will be sold at $8.40 per month or $84 a year. To give itself a competitive advantage, Disney Plus will be available through LG Uplus IPTV mobile, as well as KT Mobile, with separate price plans.