Alibaba invests in Paramount, Tornatore projects

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Alibaba Pictures Group (APG), the film arm of Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba, is investing in two further Paramount Pictures productions and a project from Italian director Giuseppe Tornatore.

Following its investment last year in Paramount’s Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, APG is also investing in the studio’s upcoming releases Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows and Star Trek Beyond.

In addition to investment, APG will provide support through its online ticketing platform Taobao Movie and crowdfunding platform Yulebao. The two films will be released in North America in the summer and are expected to be distributed in China by China Film Group and Huaxia Film in the second half of 2016.

“We had a great experience working with Paramount on Mission: Impossible and are very excited to join forces again for these two pictures, both of which have terrific fan bases in China that we hope to cooperate with Paramount to grow even larger,” said Alibaba Pictures president Zhang Wei.

APG also announced that it has signed a contract to make a film with Tornatore, whose credits include Cinema Paradiso and The Legend Of 1900.

The specific project has not been identified and it’s unclear whether it will be made as a co-production under the China-Italy treaty. But APG said the partnership would help “expand the reach of its globalised operations to Europe”.

APG also recently announced that it is joining forces with US-based Skydance Media to jointly finance and produce World War II drama Flying Tigers, scripted by Braveheart writer Randall Wallace. Skydance’s David Ellison and Dana Goldberg will produce the global release with a team from Alibaba Pictures.