China’s biggest private-sector film company, Huayi Brothers, already is one of the country’s weightiest entertainment conglomerates and is planning to take things to a new level with a stock market listing and expansion into cinema chains.
“We’re pretty diverse right now in terms of entertainment with TV, film, artists representation, advertising and our music label. For 2008 our plan is to go public, either in Hong Kong or China, and invest in exhibition to develop into a high-quality cinema chain,” co-prexy Wang Zhonglei said in an interview at the festival.
Wang was speaking ahead of the preem of “Assembly,” which the brothers are co-producing with Korea’s MK Pictures.
“We’ve observed for many years how exhibition is the weakest part of the market. Only 180 cinemas can provide for a movie like “Assembly,” around 1,000 screens, when it should be three or four times that,” Wang said.
Co-managed by Wang Zhonglei and his brother Zhongjun and supported by Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing and alliances with Media Asia, Huayi Brothers has emerged as the top private company in the Chinese biz.
The brothers currently are co-producing the $70 million “Forbidden Kingdom,” “The Diaries of John Rabe,” a $20 million movie about the man known as the “Good German of Nanking,” a card-carrying Nazi Party member and Siemens engineer who set up a Red Cross exclusion zone that protected tens of thousands of residents from the Japanese onslaught during the Rape of Nanking in 1937.
They have been prepping “Judge D,” a Tsui Hark project, for many months and hope to go into production early next year.
Also, Huayi Brothers is working with a new Chinese helmer, Cao Baoping, on “The Equation of Love and Death,” which is being shot in Yunnan province and stars mainland thesp Zhou Xun.