Golden Harvest reaps China Film venture

Country's WTO membership pushed deal, exex say

SYDNEY — Ramping up its presence on the mainland, Hong Kong’s Golden Harvest Entertainment has sealed its first-ever joint venture with state-owned importer China Film and a provincial distrib.

GHE and China Film are each taking a 35% stake in the newly formed China Golden Harvest Dongfeng Film Co., in which they are partnered with Dongfeng Cinema, a subsid of the Hunan Provincial Film Distribution Co.

Chinese execs say the deal was prompted by the country’s imminent entry into the World Trade Organization, which obliges China to liberalize the tightly controlled film exhibition and distribution industries.

‘Under pressure’

“Our movie market is now under pressure. Big productions, big cities and big theaters will be the only way to go in the future,” Huang Ming Hui, general manager of the Hunan distrib banner, told a local newspaper. He said the alliance with GHE and China Film would enable the new entity to achieve a larger market share.

GHE started investing in and managing cinemas in China three years ago and is one of the most active distributors of Chinese and international films on the mainland.

“This joint venture represents our continuing efforts to work with the mainland film authorities to improve operations at all levels, including exhibition and distribution,” GHE managing director C.K. Phoon told Daily Variety.

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