• Alibaba Pictures is set to distribute and market South Kerean film "Real," starring Asian superstar Kim Soo-hyun, in China.

Alibaba Pictures is set to distribute and market South Kerean film "Real," starring Asian superstar Kim Soo-hyun, in China. (Photo : www.centriotimes.com)

Alibaba Pictures issued a statement on Monday, Oct. 12, announcing plans to invest in the South Korean film "Real," starring Asian superstar Kim Soo-hyun, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

The report said that during the 20th Busan International Film Festival, a memorandum of agreement was signed giving Alibaba Pictures the sole distribution rights for the movie in China and taking advantage of Alibaba group's resources to support the film's marketing as well as advertising placement, brand licensing and e-commerce development.

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The report added that the deal indicates Alibaba Pictures' strategic focus to expand globally. The deal is the second international pact signed by Alibaba after its investment in "Mission: Impossible-Rogue Nation," which grossed over 876 million yuan (about $137 million) in China.

"Following that strong debut [with the latest "Mission:Impossible" title], Alibaba Pictures is confident that the Korean movie 'Real' will mark another milestone as it continues to expand its footprint in the global film industry," Alibaba said in a statement. "The investment will also pave the way for Alibaba Pictures to further explore opportunities in Korea's internationally recognized and admired entertainment industry."

The agreement is the latest in the series of cross-border collaborations between the two Asian countries, which include a $200-million joint film fund between the Korean culture ministry and Chinese private investors.

"We're investing in 'Real' because the Korean film industry is arguably the most influential in terms of creativity in the region at present, and the hugely popular [actor] Kim Soo-hyun is the embodiment of that," Zhang Qiang, CEO of Alibaba Pictures, said. "We aim to support regional movie making in Asia, as well as bigger Hollywood movies."

"We will also acquire and develop quality intellectual property assets and consolidate our global resources, technologies and talent, in order to bring the best entertainment experience to users and to build an integrated, world-class entertainment platform for the movie industry," Zhang added.

"Real" will be directed by Lee Jeong-sub, which will start production before the end of the year. Kim will star in the action movie as a ruthless and ambitious casino/hotel mogul.