Company to have office in Beverly Hills
BEIJING — The Chinese government is hoping to break into Hollywood, setting up the country’s first state-backed film fund to provide a gateway between China and the U.S.The fund, called China Mainstream Media National Film Capital Hollywood Inc., will have offices in Beijing and Beverly Hills and be led by former China Film Group prexy Yang Buting, local media reported. “With a Western movie-making approach and management supported by financing from China, the company will become a gateway partner to Hollywood,” Yang said, without giving details about the size of the fund. It’s focus will be to co-finance and co-produce projects that have worldwide box office potential. “These types of projects will allow more films to reach the ever-growing China market,” he said. L.A.-based film financier Endgame Entertainment, led by James D. Stern, will also be an industry partner. A flurry of film funds have launched of late eager to tap into China’s booming market. B.O. gross swept past $2 billion for the first time last year, and the biz has grown by more than 25% every year since 2003. But not all have been successful: China’s Huayi Brothers and Legendary East, a unit of Thomas Tull’s Legendary Pictures in collaboration with Hong Kong’s Paul Y. Engineering Group, failed to raise a planned $220.5 million on the stock exchange in December. This month, Chinese investment companies Harvest Alternative Investment Group and Sun Redrock Investment Group teamed up to form Harvest Seven Stars Media Fund, an $800 million private equity fund. The new Mainstream fund will initially invest in Chinese films aimed at urban, youth auds, plus distribution, including digital cinemas. Wang Guowei, vice-chair of the China Film Foundation, will be CEO of Mainstream with Siemens exec Liu Yuan as co-chair and prexy. Other fund execs include helmer Li Qiankuan, chairman of the China Film Foundation, economist He Xiaofeng and former JP Morgan Asia GM, Zhao Yuanjun.