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China's growing presence in Hollywood film market

2016-March-1       Source: Xinhuanet.com

The news that "The Revenant" won Oscars for directing, cinematography and best actor is exciting, particularly for an animation and entertainment firm in south China's Guangdong Province.

Poster of 'The Revenant'

Poster of "The Revenant" [Photo/Weibo]

The news that "The Revenant" won Oscars for directing, cinematography and best actor is exciting, particularly for an animation and entertainment firm in south China's Guangdong Province.

At the end of 2014, Guangdong Alpha Group, the co-funder and co-distributer of the film, established a partnership with New Regency Productions, the film's production company. It agreed to invest up to 60 million U.S. dollars in three movies that New Regency would produce, including "The Revenant."

"In return, Alpha receives a share of the global box office takings. This partnership also increases our presence in the global film market," said Chen Derong, CEO of Alpha's interactive entertainment division.

Alpha is among a number of Chinese firms looking to secure a share of the Hollywood film industry and increase their global presence through joint ventures, investment or buyouts.

Poster of 'The Revenant'

Leonardo DiCaprio (L) and director Alejandro G. Inarritu of "The Revenant" pose after winning the best actor and best director respectively during the 88th Academy Awards in Los Angeles, the United States, on Feb. 28, 2016. [Photo/Xinhua]

GROWING GLOBAL FOOTPRINT

"It is difficult to market Chinese films in Hollywood, but our investment could go first and pave the way," said Xiong Yuesheng, deputy general manager of the investment and management division of China's Hunan TV and Broadcast Intermediary Co. LTD.

Many Chinese companies are already doing what Xiong has suggested. Property and entertainment giant Dalian Wanda Group in January announced its acquisition of Hollywood film producer Legendary Entertainment for as much as 3.5 billion U.S. dollars, the largest overseas "cultural acquisition" by a Chinese company to date.

Several Chinese cultural firms had seen the opportunities even before this acquisition.

Last September, China Media Capital (CMC) and Warner Bros. Entertainment announced Flagship Entertainment Group Ltd., a joint venture that will fund and develop Chinese and English-language movies for the international market.

Also in 2015, production company Huayi Brothers signed a deal with STX Entertainment to co-finance, co-produce and retain distribution rights of more than 18 films. Huayi will retain the copyright to the co-produced films.

"Investing in IP returns the most profits in the film industry. But it is unusual for Chinese firms to secure the copyright of Hollywood films," said Zhang Yijun, PR director of Huayi Brothers, adding that holding the copyright has made all the difference to their North American subsidiary.

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Editor: Monica Liu

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