Lionsgate Extends Streaming Deal With China’s iQiyi Platform

Dave McNary
Variety

Lionsgate has signed a new long-term output deal with China’s online platform iQiyi covering “Patriots Day,” “Robin Hood,” “The Glass Castle,” “American Assassin,” and “Wonder.”

The agreement covers subscription (SVOD), transactional (TVOD), and advertising video-on-demand rights for films streaming on iQiyi’s platform in China, which includes over half a billion unique users.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. It calls for iQIYI to have exclusive streaming rights in China to Lionsgate theatrical titles covered by the agreement along with enabling broadcasting of the titles with a major promotional commitment to them on its platform.

iQiyi, which has been streaming Lionsgate titles in China since last fall, served as Lionsgate’s promotional partner earlier this year on “Now You See Me 2,” the highest-grossing Lionsgate film ever released at the Chinese box office. The companies announced the original streaming deal on Oct. 9, 2015.

“Patriots Day,” from Lionsgate and CBS Films, stars Mark Wahlberg as a Boston police officer in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings in 2013. The dramatic thriller closed the AFI Fest on Nov. 17.

Otto Bathurst is directing “Robin Hood,” starring Jamie Foxx and Taron Egerton. “The Glass Castle” stars Brie Larson, Naomi Watts, and Woody Harrelson. Lionsgate/CBS Films’ “American Assassin” stars Michael Keaton and Dylan O’Brien in a counter-terrorism thriller. “Wonder” stars Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson, and Jacob Tremblay.

“We’re delighted to expand our relationship with iQIYI, a world-class platform at the cutting edge of delivering premium quality films to online Chinese audiences,” said Lionsgate executive VP of international sales Wendy Reeds. “We have collaborated with iQIYI on the promotion and distribution of some of our biggest releases in China, and our new agreement represents a great opportunity to bring a slate of blockbuster films and a deep portfolio of library titles to one of the largest and fastest-growing markets in the world.”

The initial agreement covered both subscription and transactional VOD for Lionsgate titles including: “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 2”; “Allegiant”; “Now You See Me 2”; action film “Deepwater Horizon”; “Sicario”; the teen thriller “Nerve”; “The Shack,” starring Sam Worthington and Octavia Spencer; and the Emma Stone-Ryan Gosling musical “La La Land.”

“Lionsgate has emerged as a major creative force in the global marketplace, and we’re proud to continue adding their incredible pipeline of star-driven movies to our platform,” said Yang Xianghua, senior VP of iQiyi. “iQIYI already has the largest online movie library in China, and this agreement with one of Hollywood’s major studios significantly expands the selection of premium quality movies we will bring to our audiences.”

The agreement was negotiated for Lionsgate by Christian Perala based in the company’s London office.

iQiyi is a subsidiary of Chinese search engine Baidu and describes itself as having grown into China’s largest Internet and mobile video service provider.

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