As the battle between cinema and internet raged on in Cannes, Chinese internet companies Tencent announced a slate of ten internet-only films based on properties on its animation/comic site.
The 10-film “Flying Wings New Film Scheme” (比翼新電影計劃) – unveiled at a press conference in Beijing last week – is a joint venture between Tencent, internet video streaming site iQiyi, Fox International Productions, Sina Entertainment, internet filmmaking community Xinpianchang, Bole Pictures and Good Fellow Pictures.
According to posters released to the media, the titles are Spiritpact (靈契), Twin Detective (雙生靈探), The Innocent City (無罪之城), Lost Apocalypse (末世人間道), The Revenge of Plant (花悸), No Marriage (不結婚), Killer Maid (我是殺手女僕), Prive Hero Silent Town (私人英雄), The Treasure Mystical (白門五甲) and 獵魂師, All the films list director Zhao Tianyu, Japanese producer Takashige Ichise, Hong Kong scriptwriter Susan Chan and director Yoyo Yao as co-producers.
The ten films – all directed by young filmmakers – cover a wide range of genres, including mystery, thriller, action, fantasy, romance and comedy. The filmmakers were chosen from over 100 candidates from Tencent’s Next Idea platform.
Seven of the films have already finished shooting. Two are still in production and one will begin production soon. All ten films will be released exclusively on the iQiyi video platform starting the second half the year.
The project comes at a time when Chinese production companies are looking to make safe bets by adapting existing properties (or “IP” as they’re commonly called) or build up potential franchises. It also arrives at a time when films by young, unestablished filmmakers actors have trouble booking proper releases in Chinese cinemas, who have become more risk-averse than ever by allocating large screening shares to big blockbusters and show little patience for underperforming films.