Celebrated Hong Kong filmmaker Wong Kar Wai (In The Mood For Love) will produce his first film for Alibaba Pictures, the film production arm of Jack Ma’s online retail giant. Bai Du Ren will be written and directed by Zhang Jiajia and will star Wong Kar Wai regular Tony Leung (2046).
The film will also be the first greenlit by Alibaba Pictures since the company was rebranded following Jack Ma’s acquisition of Chinavision.
At a Beijing event at which Wong Kar Wai was present, Alibaba execs revealed they have acquired adaptation rights for My Fair Princess and the overseas distribution rights for French filmmaker Jean-Jacques Annaud’s Wolf Totem. Iconic Hong Kong producer Bill Kong is at the helm of the latter film, which has been years in the making.
Jack Ma has previously labelled Alibaba the “biggest entertainment company in the world.” He has been gradually building up Alibaba’s content capabilities. In November the company, which currently has a larger market valuation than Walmart following its initial IPO raising $21.8 billion that same month, signed a deal with Huayi Bros, China’s largest privately held film company that that covers e-commerce, online entertainment and movie development.
The deal will see Alibaba invest 5-10% of the budget on five Huayi films over the next three years with the two working together on distributing the projects.