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Warner Bros. Forms Joint-Venture for Chinese Movies

20 Sep, 2015 By: Erik Gruenwedel

With the second-largest theatrical box office, China is a market as enamored with American movies as Hollywood is developing Chinese-language fare.

Warner Bros. has partnered with China Media Capital (CMC) to produce Chinese-language movies distributed in China and abroad. Warner, which years ago shuttered home video operations in China due to piracy, is a 49% stake holder in Flagship Entertainment Group Ltd., the joint-venture with CMC based in Hong Kong with offices in Beijing and Los Angeles.

“We look forward to working with CMC in this exciting new venture, as we gain additional insight into the Chinese film industry,” Kevin Tsujihara, CEO of Warner Bros., said in a statement.

Indeed, the studio last October announced a pact with director Brett Ratner, Shanghai Media Group and CMC to invest in movies and TV shows for the Chinese market. It wasn’t immediately clear how the new deal affects that agreement.

Regardless, China Media Capital three years ago partnered with DreamWorks Animation for Kung Fu Panda 3, which is slated for global box office release Jan. 29, 2016.

Paramount this month announced a license agreement with Youku Tudou, a multi-screen entertainment and media company in China. The studio’s TV licensing arm in July inked a three-year distribution agreement with iQIYI, a subsidiary of Baidu, one of the largest Internet and mobile video service providers in China.

Netflix next year in China will launch theatrically and stream Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend, the follow-up to the 2000 Oscar winner.

Also, Chinese digital movie service You On Demand earlier this year signed a license agreement with 20th Century Fox Television Distribution for the streaming rights to a broad selection of catalog movies.

“With the proliferation of platforms available to consumers, premium content is more valuable than ever,” Ruigang Li, chairman of CMC, said in a statement. “This partnership furthers CMC’s commitment to building a premier platform for making films that resonate with both Chinese and worldwide audiences, helping to enhance the cultural exchange between China and the rest of the world.”

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