Streaming Platform Smart Cinema Deemed “Not Licensed” by the Film Bureau of China

The Chinese Film Bureau, which watches over all cinematic projects released on any platform within the country, finally gave a statement in which they condemned Smart Cinema for not having the qualifications or permissions to release cinematic content online. Smart Cinema was a latest addition to the limited Chinese mobile applications which claimed to have the license to stream films the moment they had been released worldwide. These claims have finally been denied by the Government.

Jack Gao, a former executive of Dalian Wanda, had been behind the entire project of Smart Cinema. After owning US media giants like AMC Entertainment and Legendary, he had attempted to spread online streaming sites like Netflix within China. However, just as the other streaming applications have been banned in the country, China did not hesitate to give Smart Cinema the red flag. When it was first launched on 9th May, Smart Cinema had films like Dude’s Manual, and Hong Kong Rescue on the application, and intended to price them all at the low price of 25 Yuan (4 USD). The application claimed that all the money received would be counted as part of the respective movie’s total box office gross.

Despite the fact that streaming websites do exist in China, there is usually a three-month delay after the official release before the movie finally becomes available. Baidu’s iQiyi, and Tencent Video are some famous streaming platforms under similar conditions which have more than 60 million paying subscribers each. Smart Cinema, therefore, was expected to become the first official streaming platform which negated the three-month delay rule and brought the movies to customers directly. Despite the fact that its debut sparked dubious support discussions among the Chinese film industry insiders, the application grew immensely popular among the youth. This was, until the Film Bureau officially declined to recognize the legal rights of Smart Cinema.

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