The Star Trek films are finding yet another home in China after the popular online video service Youku Tudou has completed a deal with Paramount Pictures that will add more than 100 movies, including films from the Star Trek franchise.
Which of the dozen films will be made available on Youku Tudou was not part of the report from trade publication Variety, which first announced the deal.
The available films will be available to subscribers of Youku Tudou, with select future releases available in a pay-per-view-style video-on-demand service as those films become available in China. Other popular titles includes “Mission: Impossible,” “Forest Gump” and the Transformers franchise.
Youku Tudou is probably best described as a Hulu-like service, created in 2012 with the merger of two popular video sites — Youku and Tudou. Youku was launched in 2003, and was able to generate nearly $150 million in investments — primarily from American equity companies. Tudou was founded in 2005, and while it might not have attracted the same level of investment dollars, still boasted millions of subscribers, leading to its merger several years later.
The combined site says it now has more than 500 million active users, primarily in China.
China’s population got one of its first legal looks at the Star Trek franchise in 2013 when “Star Trek: Into Darkness” made the franchise debut there, earning $25.8 million in its opening weekend. The relationship between Paramount and China has not always been a smooth one. A month after the premiere of “Into Darkness,” Paramount claimed it was owed at least $30 million by the Chinese government, part of a dispute over a 2 percent tax imposed by the China Film Group.
That dispute, however, was resolved a month later.