Crowdfunding tastes blood in movie market

Updated: 2015-07-30 07:56


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Crowdfunding tastes blood in movie market

People walk past a poster for the animation Monkey King: Hero Is Back in downtown Beijing. [Photo/China Daily] 

The overwhelming success of a Chinese animation has trained the spotlight on a burgeoning mode of Internet finance-crowdfunding.

The novel fundraising channel impressed many Chinese moviegoers when Monkey King: Hero Is Back presented a long producer list that included 109 children, whose parents pooled money to aid in the movie's marketing.

More inspiring is the news that the parents, who have invested a total of 7 million yuan ($1.1 million), will get more than 30 million yuan in return thanks to the film's immense box office success.

China's largest dark horse movie this summer, Monkey King amassed 700 million yuan in ticket sales as of Tuesday, beating Kungfu Panda 2 as the top-grossing animated film in Chinese cinemas.

Lu Wei, the film's producer, said he posted the crowd-funding bid on WeChat, the mobile messaging app run by Tencent Holdings Ltd, in late 2014 when the film was near completion. The initiative attracted many parents who made donations ranging from several thousands to over 100,000 yuan.

"Their participation contributed greatly to the movie-they are not just funders, but also enthusiastic promoters who actively advertised for the film. Some booked the entire cinema for the film's screening," he said.

Crowdfunding, which allows a project to raise funds from a large number of people via the Internet, has been a vogue in China's movie industry, with several block-busters, including the Tiny Times franchise, rolling out such projects to pool funding and fan popularity.

The concept is gaining traction in China where the government has been encouraging innovative fundraising to help money-strapped business startups. Statistics from the Shanghai-based Yingcan Consulting show China's crowdfunding platforms increased to 211 by the end of June, raising more than 4.6 billion yuan in the first half of the year.

Despite the boom, crowd-funding remains distant from the general public. said Ai Haiqing, co-founder of a crowdfunding website, as most projects have high capital thresholds and only solicit professional investors.

The projects on large platforms (with low or no investment threshold) are mostly rewards-based or are public interest activities. Equity crowdfundings (that promise shares in a company or film) are rare, Ai said.

"China's movie industry does not lack hot money. Good projects can easily ensure funding and thus need not resort to crowdfunding," said a producer at a Zhejiang-based film company.