Alibaba makes first Hollywood investment

Alibaba Pictures has announced that its making an unspecified investment in Paramount Pictures’ Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation, as well as cooperating on the online ticketing, merchandising and promotion of the film.

Mission: Impossible 5 will be promoted through Alibaba’s Taobao Movie ticketing platform, while merchandising will be sold through the company’s various ecommerce platforms.

While Mission: Impossible 2 made just $3.5m in China back in 2000 when the country didn’t have many screens, the third installment in the franchise made $10m and the fourth grossed more than $100m.

Mission: Impossible 3 was partly filmed as an assisted co-production in China, with China Film Group on board as a co-producer.

In a statement, Paramount vice chairman Rob Moore said Alibaba founder Jack Ma, Paramount chairman Brad Grey and Alibaba Pictures CEO Zhang Qiang had met in Los Angeles last autumn to discuss ways to cooperate.

“We hope today’s announcement is the first of many collaborations between us,” said Moore. “We are thrilled to be working with them to create a successful campaign for one of our studio’s most popular franchises.”

Alibaba Pictures CEO Zhang Qiang said: “Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation is our first step toward internationalisation, and Alibaba Pictures looks forward to collaborating with more international movie studios where we can consolidate resources, technologies and talents to establish a world class integrated entertainment platform for the film industry.”

Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation is scheduled for US release on July 31, while the China release date hasn’t been confirmed.

Alibaba Pictures said earlier this month that it is raising $1.6bn through a share issue to fund acquisitions and investments.