Mediacorp Raintree Pictures



Mediacorp Raintree Pictures is the pioneering local film production company in Singapore. Formed in August 1998, the company produces and distributes local films as well as features made in the region.1 The company started out by producing Chinese films but later ventured into films made in other languages.

Establishment
Raintree Pictures was incorporated in 1998 as the motion-picture production subsidiary of then Television Corporation of Singapore (subsequently became known as Mediacorp Pte Ltd).2 The raintree, a tropical plant, represents the company’s Asian heritage. It was chosen as a “symbol of the Asian product” the company aimed to produce.3

Daniel Yun, then vice-president of Productions 5 at Television Corporation of Singapore, was appointed Raintree’s first chief executive officer.4 The first film produced by the company was Liang Po Po – The Movie (1999). It was a joint production with Eric Khoo’s Zhao Wei Films.5


Raintree Pictures produced only Chinese language films in its early years, but subsequently expanded into producing films in English and other languages by collaborating with companies in the region.6 It also became a distributor of full-length features in the region and Australia.7 These included award-winning film, The Home Song Stories (2007),8 and Chinese blockbuster, Bodyguards and Assassins (2009).9

Challenges
Raintree Pictures has experienced both hits and misses over the years. While Liang Po Po achieved box office takings of S$3.03 million, most of its early films did not do well.10 2000 AD (2000), its first regional co-production, made only S$910,000 in ticket sales.11 The Truth About Jane and Sam (1999) failed to recover its S$1.2 million production costs at the box office, although the film eventually broke even through video distribution.12

Chicken Rice War (2000), The Tree (2001) and One Leg Kicking (2001) were Raintree Pictures’ attempts at producing distinctly local films. However, unlike its maiden film Liang Po Po, these films reaped little success with local audience.13 From producing these movies, the company learnt the lesson that overselling the local elements of such films could undermine their appeal to both local and regional audiences.14

Taking a leaf from earlier failures, Raintree Pictures has since moved towards more universal themes in its films, focusing on co-productions with other film companies in the region.15 In 2002, the company scored two hits through I Not Stupid (2002) and The Eye (2002).16 The former earned over S$3.8 million,17 while The Eye reaped S$1.98 million at the local box office.18 Both films also enjoyed considerable success abroad.19 The Eye was distributed to 25 countries, and I Not Stupid became the first Singaporean film to be screened in Hong Kong.20 These successes paved the way for more co-productions in the following years.21

Some of the films produced or co-produced by Raintree Pictures have received critical acclaim. Homerun (2003) bagged six awards, including the Grand Prix prize at the Golden Swan Awards 2003 at the 20th Moscow International Film Festival For Children and Youth, while Infernal Affairs II (2003) won Best Film at the Hong Kong Film Critics Society Awards in 2003. The 2007 feature, Protégé, received two awards at the Hong Kong Film Awards in 2008.22

With its combination of mainstream fare and intensive marketing campaigns, Raintree Pictures’ approach to film production closely resembles that of the Hollywood studio formula. The strength of the company’s marketing platform, given its position as a subsidiary of a television broadcasting company, grants it significant importance and standing in both the local and regional film industry.23

Leadership changes
After 11 years at the helm at Raintree Pictures, Yun resigned from the company in 2009. Chang Long Jong, then deputy chief executive of television at Mediacorp, became his interim replacement.24 Man Shu Sum, former chief executive officer of Mark Burnett Productions Asia, took over the reins in December that year.25

Productions26
1999: Liang Po Po Chong Chu Jiang Hu (also known as Liang Po Po The Movie)
1999: The Truth About Jane and Sam (also known as Zhen Xin HuaZun Sum Wah)
2000: 2000 AD (also known as Gong Yuan 2000 AD or Gung Yuen 2000 AD)
2000: Chicken Rice War (also known as Jiyuan Qiaohe)
2001: The Tree (also known as Haizi Shu)
2001: One Leg Kicking
2002: I Not Stupid (also known as Xiaohai Bu Ben)
2002: The Eye (also known as Gin Gwai)
2003: Homerun (also known as Pao Ba Hai Zi)
2003: Turn Left, Turn Right (also known as Heung Joh Chow Heung Yau Chow or Xiang Zuo Zou Xiang You Zou)
2003: Infernal Affairs II (also known as Mou Gaan Dou II or Wu Jian Dao 2)
2004: The Eye 2 (also known as Gin Gwai 2 or Jian Gui 2)
2004: The Best Bet (also known as Tu Ran Fa Cai)
2005: I Do, I Do
2005: The Maid
2006: One Last Dance
2006: I Not Stupid Too (also known as Xiaohai Bu Ben 2)
2007: The Home Song Stories
2007: Protégé (also known as Moon To)
2007: The Tattooist
2007: Brothers (also known as Hing Dai or Xiong Di)
2008: The Leap Years
2008: Rule Number One (also known as Dai Tat Gaai)
2008: 12 Lotus
2008: Painted Skin (also known as Wa Pei or Hua Pi)
2008: Sing to the Dawn
2009: The Wedding Game (also known as Da Xi Shi)
2009: Macabre
2009: The Warrior and the Wolf (also known as Lang Zai Ji)



Author

Hong Xinying



References
1. Ho, K. (2002, June 22). An eye on Asian film market. The Straits Times, p. L6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; IMDb.com, Inc. (2017). Mediacorp Raintree Pictures [sg]. Retrieved 2017, July 13 from IMDb website: http://www.imdb.com/company/co0029982/?ref_=tt_dt_co
2. Tong, K. (1998, August 8). Got a story? Climb on-board Raintree. The Straits Times, p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Tan, D. (2015, December 7). Memories of the Hill ahead of Mediacorp’s big move. Channel NewsAsia. Retrieved 2017, July 13 from Channel NewsAsia website: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/memories-of-the-hill-ahead-of-mediacorp-s-big-move-8253690
3. Tong, K. (1998, August 8). Got a story? Climb on-board Raintree. The Straits Times, p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
4. Tong, K. (1998, August 8). Got a story? Climb on-board Raintree. The Straits Times, p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
5. Loh, G. (2008, July 16). Ten years of ‘mini-miracles’. Today, p. 28; Tong, K. (1998, August 8). Got a story? Climb on-board Raintree. The Straits Times, p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
6. Van Miriah, C. (2008, July 23). Raintree keeps on growing. The Straits Times, p. 52. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
7. Tay, E. (2007, September 8). Singapore, Australia ink co-production pact to boost film collaboration. The Straits Times, p. 33. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
8. Loh, G. (2008, July 16). Ten years of ‘mini-miracles’. Today, p. 28. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
9. Loh, G. (2009, July 8). Behind the scenes. Today, p. 34. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
10. Van Miriah, C. (2008, July 23). Raintree keeps on growing. The Straits Times, p. 52. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
11. Ho, K. (2002, June 22). An eye on Asian film market. The Straits Times, p. L6; Van Miriah, C. (2008, July 23). Raintree keeps on growing. The Straits Times, p. 52. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
12. Ho, K. (2002, June 22). An eye on Asian film market. The Straits Times, p. L6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
13. Loh, G. (2008, July 16). Ten years of ‘mini-miracles’. Today, p. 28. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
14. Ong, S. F. (2007, March 14). Raintree branches out. The Straits Times, p. 60. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
15. Van Miriah, C. (2008, July 23). Raintree keeps on growing. The Straits Times, p. 52. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
16. Ho, K. (2002, June 22). An eye on Asian film market. The Straits Times, p. L6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
17. Koh Brazil, A. (2008, July 15). The Rain(tree) man. Today, p. 21. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
18. Van Miriah, C. (2008, July 23). Raintree keeps on growing. The Straits Times, p. 52. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
19. Ho, K. (2002, June 22). An eye on Asian film market. The Straits Times, p. L6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
20. Koh Brazil, A. (2008, July 15). The Rain(tree) man. Today, p. 21. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
21. Award-winners. (2008, July 23). The Straits Times, p. 53. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
22. Award-winners. (2008, July 23). The Straits Times, p. 53. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
23. Van Miriah, C. (2008, July 23). Raintree keeps on growing. The Straits Times, p. 52. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
24. Lui, J. (2009, August 13). Raintree head quits in shock move. The Straits Times, p. 27. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
25. Lim, K. (2009, October 21). Man Shu Sum rejoins MediaCorp as MD of Raintree Pictures. Campaign Asia-Pacific. Retrieved 2017, July 13 from Campaign website: http://www.campaignasia.com/article/man-shu-sum-rejoins-mediacorp-as-md-of-raintree-pictures/211503
26. IMDb.com, Inc. (2017). Mediacorp Raintree Pictures [sg]. Retrieved 2017, July 13 from IMDb website: http://www.imdb.com/company/co0029982/?ref_=tt_dt_co



The information in this article is valid as at 2010 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic. 

Subject
Motion pictures--Singapore
Motion pictures, Chinese--Singapore
Motion picture studios--Singapore
Organisations>>Companies
Arts>>Film>>Film direction and production
Business enterprises
Arts>>Film
Films