Bruce Willis-starring sci-fi action film “Breach” is to receive an online release next week in China across five major streaming platforms.
Leeding Media, which has offices in Los Angeles and Beijing, has finally secured Dec. 7 as the date for the film to play on Tencent Video, iQiyi, Youku, Mango TV and Bilibili.
Directed by John Suits, “Breach” sees an interstellar ark fleeing a devastating plague on Earth, only to come under attack from a new threat, a shape-shifting alien force intent on slaughtering what’s left of humanity. Willis stars alongside Cody Kearsley, Rachel Nichols and Thomas Jane. The film released in North America in December last year and saw international sales handled by Film Mode Entertainment.
“It has been a tremendously challenging year in China for independent movies, including local ones,” company founder David U. Lee told Variety. “Approvals for this film took a long time, though issues were not related to the content. Then, once we had overall approval, we had the issue of coordinating an optimal release date with five platforms. And each one needs (official) approvals.”
Tech platforms in China have been at the eye of a regulatory storm that has lasted all year. And the theatrical film sector has also been under significant political pressure, both to deliver patriotic content and to hit the targets elaborated recently under a five-year plan.
Leeding Media has been instrumental in importing 20 foreign films into China this year. They include “Ava,” “Kinsey,” “Million Dollar Baby,” “Locke,” “Wicker Park,” “Fame,” “The Gift,” “Immortal Beloved,” “Jane Eyre,” “Underworld” and “Dark Skies.”
The company says that each streaming platform has different strengths and overlapping, but distinct audience profiles, leading it to work with multiple platforms, whenever possible.
“Our business is similar to that of the (Hollywood) studios in this respect. And we prefer non-exclusive releases,” Lee said.
The increased politicization of the Chinese entertainment sector has caused some companies to quietly exit the scene. Others, which are committed for the longer term, have looked for on the ground consultancies and intermediaries to help navigate the changing landscape. Leeding Media says its advisory side has grown and that it has this year advised Chinese and American clients on “multiple groundbreaking transactions between the U.S. and Chinese film entertainment sectors, including the sale and acquisition of major film investment assets.”
The company is now ramping up its own television series production, Chinese film remakes and consumer products operations.
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