‘Warcraft’ Secret Weapon Tencent May Hold the Real Keys to China’s Movie Market
“Warcraft” may have been a box-office dud in the U.S., but it was one of the highest-grossing Hollywood movies ever to play in China. Some of that was the game‘s built-in fanbase — China has about half the world’s players — but there was another factor: the power of Tencent.
The Chinese media, entertainment and tech conglomerate recently made a major investment in Robert Simonds’ STX, part of a plan to expand the studio into fields such as digital content, mobile apps and virtual reality, giving its stars more avenues to make money in markets around the world.
It’s not STX’s first deal with a Chinese entertainment company — it inked an 18-film co-production deal with Huayi Brothers Media Corp last year — but it marks Tencent’s first equity investment in a Hollywood film studio.
Sky Moore, a partner at Stroock & Stroock & Lavan who’s worked on multiple U.S.-China entertainment deals, said locking down Tencent as a partner is massive for STX’s Chinese ambitions.
“Tencent has big time clout in China, big time financial resources,” Moore told TheWrap. “A lot of credibility. And for marketing, WeChat is huge.”