Tencent enters deal to back makers of new Terminator film

Updated: Apr 26, 2018 China Daily Print
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Cheng Wu (left), vice-president of Tencent and CEO of Tencent Pictures, and Zheng Xiaolong, son of the late novelist Gu Long, at a Beijing event on Monday. [Photo provided to China Daily]

With the return of James Cameron and Arnold Schwarzenegger, the new Terminator movie will be one of the most anticipated sci-fi films for Chinese fans in 2019. But this time, T-800 also has a Chinese cash-rich investor.

Tencent Pictures, the film and television arm of the Shenzhen-based internet behemoth Tencent Holdings Ltd, has unveiled plans to co-finance the upcoming Terminator film with American production company Skydance Media.

As the global partner of Skydance, Tencent Pictures will handle the distribution, marketing and merchandising of the film directed by Tim Miller in China.

The new movie, or the sixth in Terminator history, will be a sequel to Cameron's 1991 movie Terminator 2: Judgment Day starring Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton, both reprising their roles as The Terminator and Sarah Connor from the first two installments.

The new story will introduce the next generation of characters played by Mackenzie Davis, Natalia Reyes, Diego Boneta, and Gabriel Luna, according to the two companies.

Speaking about the project, Jesse Sisgold, the president and COO of Skydance Media, says: "We are thrilled that Terminator will be our first collaboration with Tencent, and we believe that partnering this early in the process, prior to production, will allow both companies to fully maximize the opportunity."

Meanwhile, Tencent Pictures has also taken up work on a series of upcoming domestic titles, such as director Lu Chuan's 20,000 Miles, critic-turned director Zhang Xiaobei's debut Pathfinder and Teng Huatao's Shanghai Fortress starring Shu Qi and Lu Han.


Arnold Schwarzenegger will return to the new Terminator film to reprise his role from Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991). [Photo provided to China Daily]

Speaking about the Chinese company's foray into the Terminator world, Cheng Wu, vice-president of Tencent and CEO of Tencent Pictures, said that in the United States, sci-fi movies account for 15 to 25 percent of the annual box-office takings, but in China, most people are still waiting for more domestic sci-fi films.

But he added that Tencent Pictures is willing to team up with Chinese filmmakers to explore the genre.

Further displaying its ambition to tap into the global movie market, Tencent Pictures says it will team up with Hollywood talent to make an English version of the film Zombie Brother, an adaptation of one of the most popular comic series on Tencent's digital platform.

In September, Tencent Pictures unveiled its lineup of 43 movie and television productions.

And, on Monday, Cheng updated the production schedules.

Qing Yu Nian (Celebrating An Affluent Year), a 52-episode historical series chronicling a legendary warrior, is around 50 percent complete.

And Mystery of Antiques, a 36-episode suspense series to be adapted from Ma Boyong's namesake online hit about an antique dealer, will air on Tencent's streaming services in the latter half of this year.

Separately, Tencent has signed a strategic alliance with Taiwan martial arts novelist Gu Long's descendants to develop the late author's 57 novels into new franchises, says Cheng.

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