It's not easy for American films to find their way into Chinese theaters, but when they do, they sure make a lot of money.
"Star Trek: Into Darkness" was the first Trek film to experience that back in 2013, where $57 million of its total $467 million worldwide gross came directly from China.
Now "Star Trek: Beyond" hopes to build on that momentum, getting an investment boost from China-based Alibaba Pictures, which could very well open the door for "Beyond" to show up in the country.
The Chinese studio is a subsidiary of the massive e-commerce corporation Alibaba Group, which reported revenue of $11.8 billion last year. The deal allows Alibaba to handle marketing, promotion and merchandising in the country, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Paramount has partnered with Alibaba in the past, joining forces last year for "Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation," which earned just under $136 million in China.
The new deal not only includes "Beyond," but also "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows."
"We had a great experience working with Paramount on 'Mission: Impossible,' and are very excited to join forces again for these two pictures, both of which have terrific fan bases in China that we hope to cooperate with Paramount to grow even larger," Zhang Wei, president of Alibaba Pictures, told THR in a statement.
"Into Darkness" was released in China a year before Alibaba launched its film division, forcing Paramount to find other ways to promote what is mostly an unknown film franchise to the country. With the help of Alibaba's vast social media network and other promotional abilities, Paramount hopes to increase the Chinese film market take, which could easily cross well over $100 million this time around.
"Star Trek: Beyond" premieres in North America July 22.