Rakuten goes Hollywood: ‘Brightburn’ and ‘xXx 4’ investment announced

When heralded Guardians of the Galaxy writer and director James Gunn’s newest film Brightburn debuts in theaters on May 24, there will be one special end roll production credit that should excite Rakuten fans around the world: The H Collective.

Rakuten recently announced a partnership with the global film finance, production, marketing and distribution company, with Brightburn being the first film to debut under the agreement.

Financing and distributing new films

As part of the partnership, Rakuten helped provide financing for Brightburn, which stars Elizabeth Banks and has been dubbed a superhero-horror. The movie, which asks the question ‘what if a child from another world crash-landed on Earth, but instead of becoming a hero to mankind, he proved to be something far more sinister?’ currently has a fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, a leading movie review aggregation site.

Brightburn, which stars Elizabeth Banks, hits theaters on May 24.

In addition to Brightburn, Rakuten has committed to financing the fourth installment of the global smash-action series xXx, starring Vin Diesel in a reprisal of his iconic Xander Cage character. Rakuten and The H Collective will also establish a joint venture to distribute motion pictures in Japan. The joint venture will support the release of Brightburn and distribute xXx 4 as well as the animated film, Spycies, in Japan. 

Strategic push into entertainment

For Rakuten, the partnership marks the company’s latest strategic investment in the entertainment industry. “I’m very excited to collaborate with The H Collective and look forward to growing our partnership to invest in international cinema and bring more great international films to Japan,” said Rakuten CEO Mickey Mikitani.

Although the partnership with The H Collective marks perhaps Rakuten’s biggest and boldest step into entertainment, it is not the first time Rakuten has been involved in producing original content. In fact, across its global businesses, Rakuten has a much broader portfolio in the entertainment industry than most realize.

A scene from Brightburn, which has been dubbed a superhero-horror. The film was produced by The H Collective.

Track record of world-class entertainment

In 2018, Rakuten TV began producing and distributing original content under the new brand, Rakuten Cinema.

Rakuten Cinema released the World War II drama “Hurricane” simultaneously in theaters and on Rakuten’s VOD (video on demand) service Rakuten TV in 2018. That same year, Rakuten Cinema released the Spanish language film Alegria Tristeza in Spain, directed by the Goya-awarded Ibon Cormenzana.

Global video streaming service Rakuten Viki also launched the exclusive documentary series “Iniesta TV” in 2018 and developed “Dramaworld” as an online streaming exclusive.

Further afield, Rakuten was the headline sponsor of superstar Shakira’s most recent El Dorado World Tour, while in sports, Rakuten has multiple high profile partnerships with Spanish footballing giants FC Barcelona, NBA champion Golden State Warriors and the NBA itself.

So, while Rakuten may have made its name in e-commerce and financial services, Rakuten’s newest fans would be forgiven for thinking the company is all about entertainment. Next time you head to the cinema, stick around after the movie end – you just may see a familiar name in the credits.

**Main photo: Hollywood feature film XxX 4 stars Vin Diesel.

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