China's investment in silver screen

Updated: 2010-12-06 09:22

By Bao Chang (China Daily)

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China's investment in silver screen
Actors Jaden Smith (left) and Jackie Chan perform in a scene from the movie The Karate Kid. Mostly made in Beijing and produced by China Films and Sony's Columbia Pictures Industries Inc, the movie took box office receipts of more than $356 million worldwide. [Photo/Agencies]

Even coal mine owners are looking for a slice of the movie industry pie

BEIJING - The movie tells a story about 13 women living alongside Qinhuai river in Nanjing who extricated their fellow countrymen from Japanese troops during World War II.

China's investment in silver screen

But The 13 Women of Nanjing, Chinese arts guru Zhang Yimou's new work, is not a purely Chinese creation. The dialogue is in English, the star is a Hollywood celebrity and the technical know-how with which it is made comes from the US film industry.

Zhang, China's most famous movie director, will name the movie's starring actor in December. It's hoped the move will guarantee its entry into the US film market.

Bringing in Hollywood actors is not the only way forward for Chinese film companies who want to explore oversea markets. Chinese firms are now speeding up their internationalization and strengthening ties with their peers across the Pacific through direct investment in Hollywood, as the dream factory has seen financing from its home market drying up in recent years.

New Pictures Film Co Ltd, the film-producing and distributing company, specializes in investing in the production of Zhang's movies, including The 13 Women of Nanjing. It has been reported by Chinese media that it may now buy stakes in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc (MGM) after the Hollywood film studio giant filed for bankruptcy in early November because of its inability to repay its $4 billion of debt.

State-owned China Films Group Corporation contributed $5 million early this year to help finance the remaking of the film The Karate Kid, starring Jackie Chan and Jaden Smith, Hollywood movie star Will Smith's son.

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Mostly made in Beijing and produced by China Films and Sony's Columbia Pictures Industries Inc, the movie took receipts of more than $356 million worldwide and China Films was given distribution rights for the movie in China and some other Asian countries in return for its investment.

"A good combination between Chinese and Western modes can be an incentive to the development of the Chinese movie industry and will also give Chinese movies an international status," China Films said.

On Sept 26, Orange Sky Golden Harvest Entertainment, a Hong Kong-based film company, paid $25 million for a 3.3 percent stake in Legendary Pictures, one of the largest film studios in the US.

Shanghai Film Group Corporation (SFGC) also plans to acquire some cinemas in the east of the US, going abroad and choosing the biggest film market in the world as its first overseas development.

"I have begun to negotiate with some companies in the east of the US about the acquisition of their cinemas," Ren Zhonglun told 21st Century Business Herald, adding that acquiring cinemas in the international market provides business opportunities for Chinese film companies who plan to develop abroad.


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