Interpret Weekly: Asia Entertainment 11/22/2021

Maoyan Entertainment / UniMedia Hengye Pictures Huayi Brothers

Staying on top of the chart for a second session, Be Somebody earned $23.9 million over the weekend. That gives it a 10-day total of $60.3 million. In second place with a strong $20.2 million opening weekend was Door Lock, a suspense horror film about a woman living alone in a big city. Produced by Hengye Pictures, the film is a Chinese remake of a 2018 Korean film of the same title.

The Battle at Lake Changjin took $3.8 million, lifting its mainland Chinese cumulative since Sept. 30 to $888 million. Local data sources put the film within RMB3 million ($489,000) of the RMB5.689 billion achieved by China’s all-time, all-comers box office record holder Wolf Warriors II in 2017.

Over the next five years, China plans to expand its fleet of movie screens to more than 100,000 (up from 77,769 screens as of this March) and release at least 50 $15 million-grossing films a year as it seeks to retain its title as the world’s largest film market, according to a new government plan. The next five years also require domestic films account for more than 55% of the total annual box office, see a strengthening of party control over all aspects of the film industry, and a growing presence of Chinese cinema on the international stage – including Cannes, an outflow of propaganda, sci-fi, and animated content spreading positivity, patriotism, and a “lovable image of China.”

Jung made her acting debut as Kang Sae-Byeok, a North Korean defector, in the hit South Korean Squid Game, which ranks as Netflix’s most watched series ever. In the weeks following the series premiere, Jung became the most followed Korean actress on Instagram; she currently has 23.5 million followers.

China is likely to start issuing online video game licenses again in the coming weeks, following a four-month suspension, according to local media 21st Century Business Herald. Executives at three gaming companies in China also told the South China Morning Post that they expect new game licenses within weeks. The slowdown in approvals forms part of Beijing’s measures to tackle gaming addiction among minors started in August.

Fish shooting games, in which players use cannons to shoot a variety of fish in a pool for rewards, have become one of the most profitable smartphone gaming genres in China. Regulators, however, have frowned upon the gambling elements in these games. Fish shooting games encourage players to buy better virtual equipment, such as ammunition, to improve their chances of killing particular fish that carry big rewards. That element has been constantly mentioned in Chinese media reports as a way to lure players, especially kids, to overspend and become addicted to these games.

In the mobile game hit Harry Potter: Magic Awakened, a female character’s reactions during a fight appeared similar to the sexually exaggerated facial expressions common in anime pornography, which drew backlash from players, especially females. NetEase apologized and said the error resulted from poor 3D modelling.

Bandai Namco has announced a new Dragon Ball video game: Dragon Ball: The Breakers. The online multiplayer game for eight players appears to be something like a Dragon Ball take on Dead by Daylight, in which 7 “survivors” face off against 1 “raider” – embodied by a classic Dragon Ball villain.

Square Enix has announced that pre-registrations for the upcoming mobile battle royale game, FFVII The First Solider, has surpassed 2 million. It has reportedly already received over 1 million actual downloads since releasing November 17, 2021.

Cloud Village, which operates a music-streaming platform similar to that of Spotify, filed for an IPO in the city in late May and was planning to take investor orders in the first half of August. The deal was pulled on Aug. 9 amid a huge selloff in Chinese internet-technology stocks that was triggered by a wave of regulatory action by Beijing against many new-economy companies. Market conditions have since stabilized. Cloud Village is targeting the same valuation and deal size as the last time.

Chinese real estate giant Evergrande has sold its entire remaining stake in the film and TV streaming company HengTen Networks Group for $273 million, part of efforts to avoid defaulting on its massive debts. The world’s most indebted developer, some $300 billion in the red, is struggling to meet interest payments on its loans. HengTen’s name is a portmanteau made up of the first characters for the Chinese names of Evergrande and Tencent.

The K-pop group not only won three of the award show’s most prestigious honors, but took the stage twice to deliver high-energy performances. Powered by their dedicated ARMY, BTS dominated the pop categories, winning artist of the year as well as favorite pop duo or group and favorite pop song for their disco-infused No. 1 hit Butter.

Interpret’s latest Animeasure finds anime viewers are far more likely to play video games (they are approximately 1.5x more likely to be weekly PC/console gamers than non-viewers), watch game-related streams/videos, and spend more on gaming than non-viewers. Anime viewers also play most game genres more than non-viewers. The over-index is especially high for JRPGs, visual novels/dating sims, battle card games, MOBAs, and interactive story games (2-3x more likely to play these genres compared to non-viewers). There is even a strong overlap among anime viewers and game genres that are not so clearly linked to anime – genres such as first-person shooters and battle royale.

According to streaming ratings site FlixPatrol on Sunday, Hellbound ranked top on the list of Netflix’s most-watched TV shows, just a day after its release on Friday. It is the fastest to ascend to the top among Korean shows, compared with global mega-hit Squid Game that reached the top place five days after its release.