Interpret Weekly

Emperor Motion Pictures

iQiyi Film / Hengye Pictures

Beijing Enlight Pictures


China Box Office Sets Another Record with $258M Across May Day Holiday as 2021 Tops $3.4B

The Chinese box office across the five-day May Day holiday which concluded last Wednesday hit a record high of RMB 1.67 billion ($258 million). This is up from the RMB 1.53B grossed during the similar 2019 frame which lasted four days. Contrary to previous years, the recent holiday did not see any significant Hollywood titles in the mix as COVID-19 has severely impacted release schedules. My Love was the top film of the holiday, taking in $79 million from May 1-5 (it released on April 30, giving it a total of $101 million). Coming in second during the session was Cliff Walkers with $78 million.


Huayi Bros. Marks Third Year of Losses, Despite Delivering the Highest Grossing Film of 2020

The company’s revenues for 2020 fell by 33% year-on-year to $232 million while net losses hit $162 million. The figures continue a losing streak since 2018 despite its success with the war epic The Eight Hundred, which became the biggest film of the pandemic-stricken year thanks to a $450 million box office haul. Huayi Bros. keenly felt the impact of COVID-19 on the movie business. Overall, its core business in the film and TV sector achieved revenues of $203 million, but marked a 39% decrease year-on-year.


Wanda Preparing to Sell Hoyts Australian Cinema Chain

According to the Australian Financial Review newspaper, investment bank Credit Suisse has been appointed by Wanda to find bidders for Hoyts cinema chain. Wanda Film bought the company for an estimated A$1 billion ($780 million at present day exchange rates) in 2015 at a time when Wanda had ambitions to become the largest film company in the world, having acquired North American cinema chain AMC in 2012. Hoyts operates some 450 screens across Australia and reports some A$400 million of debt coming due in January 2022.


Korea Box Office: ‘The Croods’ Gets Boost from Children’s Day Public Holiday

Newly released The Croods: A New Age had a gross of $381,000 between Friday and Sunday. Its five-day total stands at $1.3 million, boosted by a strong Wednesday opening day. Wednesday was the annual Children’s Day public holiday and provided a fillip for cinema-going. Some 326,000 tickets were sold on Wednesday. That was the highest single-day figure since Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving) at the beginning of October last year.


UTA Signs ‘Burning’s Jun Jong-Seo

Most recently, Jun was cast as one of the leads in the Korean remake of Money Heist for Netflix. Originating in Spain, the acclaimed series quickly became one of the biggest titles for the streamer and one of the most popular non-English series on the platform. Up next, she is set to be the lead in Ana Lily Amirpour’s Mona Lisaand the Blood Moon opposite Kate Hudson and Craig Robinson, with John Lesher producing.


Tencent in Talks with U.S. to Keep Gaming Investments

Tencent seeks to keep its ownership stakes in U.S. video game developers Riot Games and Epic Games and is negotiating agreements with the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), which has the authority to order the Chinese technology giant to divest U.S. holdings, since the second half of last year. CFIUS has been looking in to whether Epic and Riot’s handling of the personal data of their users constitutes a national security risk because of their Chinese ownership.


NCSoft’s Q1 Income at 4-Year Low on Stagnant ‘Lineage’ Sales and Spike in Labor Cost

NCSoft on Monday reported its worst quarterly operating profit in four years in Q1 2021, with a nearly 80% on-year plunge due to stagnation in the mainstay Lineage series and a spike in labor cost.

The company reported the operating profit for the first quarter ended March shrank 63.8% from a quarter ago and 76.5% from a year ago to 56.73 billion won ($50.9 million), the lowest quarterly operating profit since Q2 2017.


Nintendo Switch Hits 84.59 Million Units Sold, with 28.8 Million Sold This Past Year

Well exceeding both Nintendo’s projections for the year as well as actual sales for the prior year, Nintendo reports selling 28.8 million Switch consoles in the fiscal year that ended March 31, 2021. This brings lifetime Switch sales up to nearly 85 million, well on pace to one day eclipse the Wii’s 101.63 million units sold, possibly before the end of next year.


Chinese Idol Show Shut Down Over Spilled Milk

One of China’s most popular online talent shows, Youth with You 3, has been suspended days before its season finale due to a voting promotion that may have resulted in crazed fans wasting vast quantities of milk. The trigger was a video that went viral showing a group of people opening bottles of dairy product, pouring their contents into buckets, and dumping the buckets into a drainage ditch. All they were interested in, were the bottle caps with QR codes printed on the inside that could be scanned to vote for contestants on the show.


K-Pop Competition Series in the Works with MGM & Korea’s SM Entertainment

The Korean pop movement that has spawned the likes of BTS and Blackpink is getting another competition series. MGM and Korea’s SM Entertainment, founded by Lee Soo-Man, are developing a reality series to find the latest member of K-pop band NCT.

The MGM/SM Entertainment untitled series, which is open to young men between the ages of 13-25, will see America’s most talented emerging artists compete against each other to win a coveted spot in the NCT Universe. NCT is currently comprised of 23 members from across the globe, who also make up the sub-groups NCT 127, NCT DREAM, and WayV.


Kadokawa Aims for 40 New Anime Productions a Year Going Forward

As part of a year-end financial report, Kadokawa let investors know that it plans to produce at least 40 anime series a year moving forward as anime has been an area of growth for the company prior to and during the pandemic. Video games saw an operating profit increase of nearly 115% while its publishing arm (manga, light novels, etc.) saw a 10.5% increase in sales. The overseas imprint, Bookwalker, increased sales by 22%. Kadokawa underscored a plan to work further with foreign companies, an unsurprising initiative in light of their recent acquisition of J-Novel Club.


Disney Strikes Korean Content Supply Deal with NEW Affiliate

South Korean film and TV studio Next Entertainment World (NEW) has struck a long-term agreement to supply content to streaming service Disney Plus. The deal appears to bring forward the likely launch of Disney Plus in the key territory, while also further stoking competition for Korean films and TV series.

NEW said that its 47%-owned affiliate Studio & New had agreed a five-year “content partnership” with The Walt Disney Company Korea to supply works across a range of genres. It also specified that these are destined to be shown on Disney Plus.


Tving Offers Another VOD-Release Option for South Korean Movies

Tving, an online video-streaming platform run by South Korea’s entertainment giant CJ ENM, has emerged as a new option for South Korean movies seeking on-demand releases after a sluggish theatrical run amid the yearlong pandemic.

In 2021, Tving has paved another way for Korean film studios and distributors to release their films in theaters and on digital streaming at the same time. The science-fiction action blockbuster Seobok, produced and distributed by CJ ENM, was released simultaneously in theaters and via Tving in April.