‘Bumblebee,’ ‘Top Gun’ Sequel China Release: Tencent, Paramount Ink Investment And Partnership Deal

 Tencent is seen during the fourth World Internet Conference in Wuzhen
Tencent Pictures and Paramount Pictures announced a deal involving “Bumblebee” and “Top Gun” sequel release in China. (Photo: REUTERS/Aly Song)

Tencent Pictures will invest and will manage marketing and promotional activities in mainland China for Paramount Pictures' "Bumblebee" and the sequel for "Top Gun," the Chinese tech giant announced o Dec. 4.

Under the deal, China Film Group Film Import and Export Corporation will be tasked to bring the movie into the Asian country. China Film Group Corporation and HuaXia Film Distribution Co. Ltd. meanwhile were designated the distribution.

Under the newly minted deal, "Bumblebee," a spin-off from the Transformers franchise, became Tencent's first international project after the success of "Venom." The film also became the first collaboration project of Tencent Pictures with Paramount.

Tencent chose "Bumblebee" for its next venture with a foreign film company because many have come to love the Autobot as proven with reactions from the rest of Transformers franchise, Cheng Wu, vice president of Tencent and CEO of Tencent pictures, said.

Furthermore, Tencent has always recognized that global exploration is key to its growth, Cheng said. Partnering with big global brands from across the globe and providing people with good stories are steps highly important to the company's vertical market strategy, the CEO said.

"Bumblebee is scheduled to be released on Dec. 21 in the United States and on Jan. 4 in mainland China.

The Transformers spinoff will be facing high expectations box office wise. "Transformers: The Last Knight" earned a total of $145 million in 10 days after its release in China. Its total box office in China was even greater than what it generated in the US. 

The Chinese box office has always been significant for Hollywood. The worldwide box office sales reached a record high in 2017 with $40.6 billion. Of these $7.9 billion ticket sales were delivered by the Chinese market, according to data released in April by the Motion Picture Association of America. Ticket sales from the Asian powerhouse translated to a 7 percent increase of the overall worldwide box office. In comparison, combined sales of the US and Canada were only at $11.1 billion.

This was not the first time that Tencent Pictures got involved with similar ventures. The film production arm of Tencent had also engaged in a similar capacity with big films that included "Warcraft," "Kong: Skull Island," "Wonder Woman," "La La Land," "Ready Player One" and "Venom." The latter has become the fifth highest grossing in 2018.

With such strong involvement with high-profile international film projects, Paramount trusts Tencent will effectively handle marketing and promotional campaigns in China, Jim Gianopulos, chairman and CEO of Paramount Pictures, said.

The maker of Transformers toys, Hasbro, meanwhile, also served as co-financier for Bumblebee.

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