Tencent invests in film and VR maker Skydance Media


Tencent Holdings is investing an undisclosed amount of money in Skydance Media, a Hollywood entertainment studio that makes everything from Terminator movies to the Archangel virtual reality game.

Skydance Media was started in 2010 by David Ellison, the son of Oracle founder Larry Ellison. The company has made feature films including Mission: Impossible — Rogue NationTerminator GenisysWorld War Z, and Star Trek Into Darkness. Skydance films have generated more than $ 5 billion in box office revenues.

And in 2017, the company began branching out into games with Skydance Interactive, with a focus on virtual reality. I recently interviewed Skydance Interactive executive vice president Chris Hewish about how Skydance is doubling down on VR.

“We are thrilled and honored to be entering into a strategic partnership with Tencent, whose global reach and position within the Chinese marketplace is truly unmatched”, said Skydance CEO David Ellison in a statement. “Skydance has experienced a tremendous amount of growth since our inception in 2010, and we’re excited that our next phase of expansion will be in partnership with a company that shares our vision for where entertainment is heading.”

The investment is part of a broader strategic partnership, which provides a global platform for project-level collaboration and will also allow Skydance to access Tencent’s expertise in Asia and gaming to further build out its presence in these markets.

Tencent will co-finance Skydance films, and it will market, distribute and merchandise those films in China. The partnership also supports collaboration on other media initiatives, including television, interactive and virtual reality.

“Skydance is nurturing successful entertainment franchises, especially in the action and science fiction genres, which are particularly popular in China,” said Tencent chief strategy officer James Mitchell, in a statement. “We believe this partnership will support Skydance’s expansion internationally, across media and into television production, and provide Tencent with attractive content that we can share with China consumers.”

Skydance has made entertainment in film, TV, animation, and games. The company is currently in production on the new Mission: Impossible film starring Tom Cruise, directed by Christopher McQuarrie; Gemini Man starring Will Smith, directed by Ang Lee; the next Terminator film produced by James Cameron, directed by Tim Miller; the animated film Luck, written by Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger, directed by Alessandro Carloni; and the animated film Split written by Linda Woolverton, directed by Vicky Jenson.

Skydance Interactive has about 70 people, and they’re all focused on VR titles, such as Archangel — a mech-oriented VR title and a VR version of The Walking Dead.

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