Perfect World, Village Roadshow, WME Launch China Production Venture

Village Roadshow Entertainment, China’s Perfect World Entertainment and talent agency WME | IMG are jointly launching a Chinese film and TV production venture, Perfect Village Entertainment.

The new company, whose creation was announced Tuesday at the Shanghai  International Film Festival, will have offices in Beijing and Hong Kong and be headed by Ellen Eliasoph. Village Roadshow Pictures Asia, which she currently heads, will be folded into the new company.

The partners confirmed that WME | IMG is an equity participant in the new company. But they did not disclose the scale of its investment or its share stake.

Perfect Village will be involved in development, financing, production, marketing and distribution of a slate of feature films, animation and premium online series. These will be filmed primarily in Chinese and intended for distribution throughout Greater China and around the world, the company said.

WME | IMG China will provide local support across its network of brands and licensing relationships, global packaging, and sales and distribution infrastructure.

The partners confirmed that WME | IMG is an equity participant in the new company. But they did not disclose the scale of its investment or its share stake.

Speaking at a launch event in Shanghai, Eliasoph told Variety that Perfect Village would focusing on films with budgets “appropriate to the Chinese market as it currently stands.” She said that meant production budgets in the range of $7.25 – $45 million (RMB50-300 million).

The new venture’s initial slate of films includes two 2017 releases: sci-fi action picture “Bleeding Steel,” starring Jackie Chan, and “Reborn,” a cyber-hacker thriller starring Han Geng and Rhydian Vaughan. Its tentpole release for 2018 will be Zhang Yimou epic “Shadow,” which is now in its final month of filming. “Shadow” stars Deng Chao, Sun Li, Zheng Kai, Guan Xiaotong and Wang Qianyuan.

Perfect Village has also started pre-production on a hybrid live-action and animated feature that will bring Hero Dog, the star of one of Perfect World’s hit television shows, together with cat character Garfield. Other projects in development may draw on Village Roadshow’s Australian heritage locations and VFX and post-production capabilities.

“We believe that the Chinese film industry is on the brink of a new golden age of growth in which great indigenous stories and IP will be brought to screens across all platforms, utilizing world-class production techniques and resonating with audiences both in China and around the world,” said Jie Lian, chairman and CEO of Perfect World Pictures. “Finding the right partners has been a critical element of our strategy.”

“The formation of Perfect Village, in collaboration with these stellar partners, represents the fullest possible realization of our dream to build a localized film development and production operation in China creating world-class content for China and beyond,” said Village Roadshow CEO Greg Basser.

Boutique financier, Raine Group provided strategic advice to the partners in the establishment of Perfect Village.

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