Joint venture to be set up at West Bank Media Port

SHANGHAI — Oriental DreamWorks, the toon joint venture set up by DreamWorks Animation and a state-backed Chinese consortium, will be the flagship company at a new media center being developed in Shanghai’s West Bank Media Port.

The local government aims to transform the 47-acre site, located in Xuhui district on the west bank of the Huangpu River, into a landmark cultural center for film and TV production, and digital entertainment.

The media center will also include cinemas, restaurants, bars and theaters, Chen Chengquan, chief of the district’s culture bureau, told a Shanghai news conference on Thursday. He hopes other major shingles would join Oriental DreamWorks at the media center, adding that there had been discussions with Sony Pictures and Hong Kong-based TV company, TVB.

Chen did not say when construction on the center would start.

Oriental DreamWorks, formed by DreamWorks Animation and a trio of state-backed orgs, China Media Capital, Shanghai Media Group and Shanghai Alliance Investment, will make animated and live-action content for distribution in China and globally.

With a preliminary investment of $330 million, the Chinese orgs hold 55% of Oriental DreamWorks’ shares with DreamWorks Animation owning 45%.

The goal is to release one animated film a year from 2016, and two annually after 2018, building on DreamWorks’ strength in the region, where “Kung Fu Panda 2″ was the highest-grossing animated film in the region, taking around $100 million.

Shanghai Media Group is the second largest media conglom in China, operating TV and radio channels, newspapers, magazines, new-media businesses and home shopping networks. Shanghai Alliance Investment, an arm of the Shanghai municipal government, focuses on high-tech and financial sectors.

China has become a major draw for Hollywood shingles, and DWA, Legendary and Relativity have sought out partnerships in China to produce homegrown fare that can circumvent quota regulations.

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