China finds its new showman

Han Sanping has big ideas for film industry

Han Sanping has slimmed down. He loves to name drop. And he loves to remind you that he’s in business with the likes of Disney and Warners.

In other words, the new chairman and CEO of the state-owned China Film Group matches the stereotype of any number of Hollywood executives.

But even though Han shares some of Hollywood’s traits, it doesn’t necessarily mean that things are going to get any easier for U.S. studios seeking a share of China’s market.

Han recently described China-bashers as “mentally challenged.”

He gave notice that he would like China Film Group listed on the stock market. But it’s not clear whether a China Film IPO will allow foreign investors to buy in — as much as they would love to have a piece of the outfit that runs production, distribution and exhibition.

“We can’t simply let China Film Group become a trading company, distributing and buying foreign movies,” he says.

He’s not against American films — He cited the Will Smith starrer “The Pursuit of Happyness” as an example of a film he likes.

But he has called on China to make more patriotic and “ethically inspiring” pics.

If that sounds like propaganda in the making, he notes that Hollywood has a penchant for patriotism. In U.S. movies, he says, “every time man faces disaster, Americans rescue mankind.”

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