After their surprise announcement in October of last year, Jack Ma, China’s richest man, and Steven Spielberg, Hollywood’s highest grossing film director, are in the works of transitioning film from the West to the East.
Western culture has been a big influence on Chinese youth this past decade and Ma and Spielberg expect to cash in on that. Alibaba Pictures, Ma’s company, and Amblin Partners, Spielberg’s company, have entered into a fairly new partnership to co-produce, finance and distribute films for both Chinese and global audiences. The new team will also be collaborating on merchandising and marketing Amblin Partners in China, one of the world’s largest consumer markets.
In mid 2015, Sydney Morning Herald reported that China’s film market was the second largest in the world, and at a steady growth rate of 35% a year, it won’t be long before they take over the top spot. China’s strict media regulations may put a strain on this deal but bridging the gap between the two very different cultures is one of Ma and Spielberg’s goals with this new collaboration.
“I think that China and USA in the west, there are cultural differences,” Ma said. “But I don’t see any human, value difference between West and East. The only difference is the West can tell the story better than Chinese.”
“Some of the stories I’m hoping Jack and I can tell in this new partnership between Amblin Partners and Alibaba Pictures will be able to bring Chinese-themed stories to the American audience,” Spielberg said at the press conference in Beijing.
Financial details are yet to be announced.