Tencent backs Zhang Yimou's martial arts film

SHANGHAI • Chinese technology giant Tencent, which has hit the jackpot with video game Fortnite, is betting next on Zhang Yimou's martial arts flick Shadow.

It will co-finance and help market the film, it said at its annual movie presentation in Shanghai.

Trade publication Variety reported that Zhang's work, in post-production now, zooms in on an epic story from the Three Kingdoms period, with Chinese actor-director Deng Chao doing double duty on screen as an ailing general and his body double.

His wife, actress Sun Li, also stars in the film, which is slated for a China release later this year.

Tencent is moving beyond video gaming to expand its entertainment empire, with overseas forays too - including high-profile Hollywood movies such as Kong: Skull Island (2017) and Wonder Woman (2017).

Zhang, meanwhile, stood front and centre on stage - instead of being behind the cameras - last month at Boston University, which gave him an honorary degree.

The citation said his movies "offer not only a perspective on the people and culture of China, but also a window into the universal qualities of human nature and yearning".

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 19, 2018, with the headline 'Tencent backs Zhang Yimou's martial arts film'. Print Edition | Subscribe