Interpret Weekly: Asia Entertainment 12/13/2021

Emperor Motion Pictures /
Lian Rey Pictures
Maoyan Entertainment /
UnitedPower Films

Emperor Motion Pictures’ adventure mystery Schemes in Antiques retained its position at the top of the China box office on its second weekend, grossing a further $14.5m for a cumulative total of $51.6m. Comedy thriller Be Somebody, produced by Maoyan Pictures, was again in second place, taking $9.8m for a cumulative total of $132.3m.

Tencent Games announced a new publishing label under which it’ll be publishing several new games which include Synced: Off Planet by NExT Studios for PC, Don’t Starve: Newhome for mobile, and unnamed titles from Lightspeed & Quantum Studios and TiMi Studio Group. Other games like Arena of Valor will also receive content updates. The new studio is based in Amsterdam and Singapore.

It will be Tencent’s first studio in the city state and TiMi’s fourth overseas studio behind Los Angeles, Seattle, and Montreal. Until now, Tencent has only had its employees in Singapore work on existing games. That move comes in the wake of Beijing’s regulatory crackdown on Big Tech at home, which has spurred companies like Tencent and TikTok owner ByteDance to look to Singapore as a base where they can hire foreign talent to develop products for the global market.

Parasite star Song Kang-ho will reteam for the fifth time with leading Korean director Kim Jee-woon on their upcoming feature film Cobweb. Kim describes the project as “experimental” and said that it will be shot entirely on sound stages in support of a film-within-a-film narrative.

The film will be the first project to emerge from Anthology Studios, a production house co-founded earlier this year by Kim, Song, and Jay Choi, an executive who was previously the local production head for Warner Bros Korea. The company had barely been launched before it was acquired for KRW20 billion (approximately $18 million) by JTBC Studios, a subsidiary of Korean pay-TV network JTBC.

Nintendo is planning to add another 8,500 square meters to their space in May 2022. There are also plans to build another building on the premises of the Nintendo Kyoto Research Center, where the head office used to be.

Nintendo also announced that they would be investing huge sums — profit from the Switch’s success — into “organically expand[ing]” its game development ($880 million), as well as investing in non-game entertainment like the Mario movie ($440 million) and expanding their relationship with consumers (a whopping $2.64 billion). That last one includes things like Nintendo Switch Online, My Nintendo, and potentially even new services.

Japanese video games performed well at the 2021 Game Awards. Banda Namco’s Tales of Arise won Best RPG, Square Enix’s MMO Final Fantasy XIV won Best Ongoing Game and Best Community Support, Nintendo’s Metroid Dread won Best Action/Adventure, Arc System Works’ Guilty Gear Strive won Best Fighting Game, Keiichi Okabe’s score for Square Enix’s NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139… won Best Score and Music, Maggie Robertson won Best Performance for her role in Capcom’s Resident Evil Village, Capcom’s Resident Evil 4 won Best VR/AR Game, and From Software’s collaboration with fantasy writer George R.R. Martin (Game of Thrones) Elden Ring won Most Anticipated Game award.

A new wave of job cuts is shaking China’s Big Tech firms as 2021 comes to a close, with short video giant Kuaishou, rival ByteDance, and Baidu-owned video-streaming platform iQiyi all said to be trimming their payrolls. While it is common practice for Chinese tech firms to lay off under-performers at year’s end, the job cuts this time appear deeper than usual after a year of harsh regulatory tightening on the sector.

ViacomCBS and South Korea’s CJ ENM announced a global content deal encompassing co-productions for original TV shows and films as well as content licensing and distribution across the companies’ streaming services. Also under the pact, the companies will launch Paramount Plus in South Korea in 2022 as an exclusive bundle with CJ ENM’s TVING streaming service — marking its first launch in Asia.

Based on the popular 1998 Japanese anime TV series and the 2001 anime film Cowboy Bebop, Netflix’s live action adaptation will not be renewed for a second season. This news comes just a few weeks after the series premiere on the streaming platform.

Anime studio 8-Bit is establishing a new studio in Niigata prefecture, the studio’s first regional office. 8-Bit and Bandai Namco Arts entered into a business partnership to focus on producing animation-based video works and related content in June 2020. 8-Bit was founded in September 2008 and has its main studio in Tokyo. The studio has also produced such anime as That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime (second season).