According to Next Magazine, in 2016, Shanghai New Culture Media had entered into a “Bet-on Agreement” with Stephen’s company, Premium Data Associates Limited (PDAL), and would invest 1.33bil yuan (S$270mil) in PDAL. Under the agreement, PDAL would have to achieve a total net profit of 1.04bil yuan (S$180mil) over four years, or it would have to make compensation or buy back their shares.
However, during this period, Stephen only released two films — Journey to the West: The Demons Strike Back in 2017 and The New King of Comedy in 2019. Sadly, their box office revenue was not as high as expected. The situation was further compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic, which upended the movie industry, halting film production and closing cinemas.
It was alleged that Stephen was 200mil yuan (S$40.8mil) shy of his target and now investors reportedly want him to buy back their shares.
Reports also claimed that Stephen’s chain of cinemas in China were forced to shutter during the pandemic, racking up losses of HK$40mil (S$7mil), which only added to his alleged financial woes.
Photos: PBE Media, Weibo