iQIYI's 'Action Master' Season Unveils Diverse Charm of Martial Arts Films

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iQIYI concludes 'Action Master' season with innovative multi-line distribution model for action movies, showcasing cultural richness and captivating narratives. The films redefine chivalry, score high ratings, and target diverse audience interests.
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The introduction of iQIYI's multi-line distribution model represents a significant shift in the way content is delivered to consumers. By leveraging both online platforms and traditional cinemas, iQIYI is tapping into the diverse preferences of a wide audience base. This strategy is particularly pertinent in the context of China's highly competitive entertainment market, which has seen rapid growth and evolving consumer behavior.

From a market perspective, the ability to reach audiences through multiple channels can enhance revenue streams and mitigate the risks associated with single-channel distribution. The reported success of The Wild Blade of Strangers in attracting interest from over 6,000 cinemas indicates a strong market demand for martial arts films, which could have positive implications for iQIYI's financial performance and stock valuation in the short to medium term.

Furthermore, the high box office and online ratings for films like Eye for an Eye 2 suggest that iQIYI's content is resonating with viewers. If this trend continues, it could lead to increased subscriber growth and retention for iQIYI's online platform, which is a key metric for investors assessing the company's long-term potential.

The entertainment industry is witnessing a resurgence of interest in martial arts films, which is evident from the success of iQIYI's 'Action Master' season. The blend of traditional martial arts with contemporary storytelling and aesthetics may be setting a new trend that other content creators will likely follow. This could lead to a broader revitalization of the genre, potentially increasing the overall market size for martial arts-themed entertainment.

However, while the multi-line distribution model allows for targeted audience engagement and can enhance the viewer experience, it also requires careful management to avoid cannibalization between online and theatrical releases. The balance between exclusivity and accessibility must be finely tuned to maximize revenue without diminishing the perceived value of either distribution channel.

For industry stakeholders, the success of iQIYI's approach may prompt a reevaluation of distribution strategies, especially in markets where digital platforms are becoming increasingly dominant. The long-term impact on the industry could be substantial, potentially leading to a shift in how films are financed, produced and distributed globally.

Innovative Multi-line Distribution Model Optimizes Audience Targeting

BEIJING, March 21, 2024 /PRNewswire/ -- iQIYI, an innovative market-leading online entertainment service in China, has recently concluded the first season of 'Action Master,' showcasing the multifaceted allure of action movies. Throughout the season, iQIYI released four premium action films including Blocking the Horse, Eye for an Eye 2, Hunt the Wicked, and The Wild Blade of Strangers. These films not only pay homage to the venerable tradition of martial arts culture but also explore its contemporary relevance and novel expressions, while pioneering a groundbreaking multi-line distribution model for such movies.

Diverse Interpretations of Martial Art Chivalry

The 'Action Master' Season films by iQIYI offer a captivating and culturally rich experience for audiences of all ages and tastes. Seamlessly blending traditional elements such as Chinese classical opera, oriental aesthetics, and martial arts tales, these films showcase the vibrant diversity of action and martial arts cinema. Going beyond conventional storytelling, they introduce innovative narrative backgrounds, captivating action sequences, dynamic storytelling techniques, and compelling character development.

Featuring unique oriental action aesthetics, Eye for an Eye 2 continues the story of the blind swordsman and elevates the genre with upgraded action scenes, character arcs, and narrative styles, redefining chivalry for modern audiences. The movie bagged RMB 2.79 million at the box office and scored a record-high rating of 9.7 on iQIYI on the premiere day.

Meanwhile, Blocking the Horse draws inspiration from the traditional opera, presenting a visual feast of culture and innovation as it follows a family's quest to reclaim their legendary sword, blending humor and suspense in a riveting adventure.

Additionally, The Wild Blade of Strangers unfolds against the tumultuous backdrop of ancient China, telling a gripping tale of unbreakable righteousness amidst the conspiracies of the Prince of QI, while Hunt the Wicked offers a modern interpretation of martial arts culture, starring powerhouse actors in a narrative filled with real stakes, hardcore action, and a high-octane showdown between good and evil.

In addition to the action movies, iQIYI has also introduced numerous martial arts series in recent years, including Mysterious Lotus Casebook, The Ingenious One, Pledge of Allegiance, and Strange Tales of Tang Dynasty

Renowned Wuxia novelist Louis Leung-yung CHA, better known as Jin Yong, once defined the essence of martial arts chivalry as "being a hero for the country and the people." Today, this spirit is imbued with new contemporary significance, according to industry insiders.

"Even though the era of purely action-packed martial arts films has passed its prime, martial arts, when combined with other cinematic elements, will undoubtedly undergo a renaissance, breathing new life into the genre," stated Hu GUO, director of Mysterious Lotus Casebook, in a recent interview.

Multi-line Distribution Addresses Diverse Interests

Notably, through both cinema screens as well as online platform, The Wild Blade of Strangers successfully reaches to more audiences, allowing its stunning action and martial arts aesthetics to meet audiences on the grand scale of cinema. The multi-line distribution model enables film producers and theaters to tailor film presentations to the characteristics of the film and the preferences of specific audiences, moving from a one-size-fits-all approach to a market-driven, flexible strategy that caters to the varied tastes of Chinese filmgoers.

Liangwen LI, a producer at iQIYI, shared that The Wild Blade of Strangers was initially targeted for release in iQIYI's Cloud Cinema, later expanding to include a theatrical release, and attracted overwhelming interest from over 6,000 cinemas. Film director Wei LI added that the eagerness of so many cinemas to show the film proves a significant persisting audience for martial arts films and a desire to experience them in theaters.

Yu GONG, Founder and CEO of iQIYI, also believes that the cinema's winner-takes-all effect does not foster diversity among creators or meet the various demands of audiences, while multi-line distribution promotes a broader content offering and supports the long-term development of the industry, allowing for the production of more films that cater to the demands of internet users.


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What films were released by iQIYI in the 'Action Master' season?

iQIYI released four premium action films: Blocking the Horse, Eye for an Eye 2, Hunt the Wicked, and The Wild Blade of Strangers.

What rating did Eye for an Eye 2 receive on iQIYI's premiere day?

Eye for an Eye 2 scored a record-high rating of 9.7 on iQIYI on the premiere day.

Who defined the essence of martial arts chivalry as 'being a hero for the country and the people'?

Renowned Wuxia novelist Louis Leung-yung CHA, better known as Jin Yong, defined the essence of martial arts chivalry.

What distribution model did iQIYI use for 'The Wild Blade of Strangers'?

iQIYI used a multi-line distribution model for 'The Wild Blade of Strangers,' reaching more audiences through cinema screens and online platforms.

Who believes that multi-line distribution promotes a broader content offering and supports the long-term development of the industry?

Yu GONG, Founder and CEO of iQIYI, believes that multi-line distribution promotes a broader content offering and supports the long-term development of the industry.

iQIYI, Inc.


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