Alibaba has successfully promoted critically acclaimed movies to Chinese audiences that used to only watch Hollywood’s big summer blockbusters, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Everyone knew that big movies like Avengers:Endgame would be a big hit in China, but Alibaba has successfully sold smaller indie and Oscar-nominated films to Chinese audiences. A Lebanese drama and critically acclaimed movie Capernaum captured $54 million in China after only making $2 million in other markets. Chinese audiences have usually only preferred big blockbusters like superhero movies or action-packed spectacles like “The Fast and the Furious.”
Alibaba’s ability to turn smaller movies into big money-makers speaks to Hollywood’s reliance on Chinese partners to sell to a Chinese audience that they know how to sell to.
Alibaba successfully marketed three Oscar movies last year: Green Book, Bohemian Rhapsody, and Capernaum. Green Book made an impressive $71 million in China and the Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody was released in sing-along versions that did well.
“The audiences in China are developing their tastes,” said Alibaba Pictures President Wei Zhang. “People no longer feel they’re going to have to see the big action spectacular.”