×

Huayi, Bona invest in China Lion

Deal give Chinese companies access to N. America

BEIJING — China’s top two privately owned shingles, Huayi Bros. and Bona Film Group, have signed up to buy stakes in the one-year-old start-up China Lion Film Distribution, which will give them access to the North American market.

Both Huayi and Bona will acquire up to 20% of China Lion each for an undisclosed sum. Former Village Roadshow and Dune Entertainment exec Greg Coote will chair the company.

“This is a major milestone for both Bona and China’s film industry, as it will allow overseas Chinese to watch Chinese movies without delays, as well as open modern Chinese movies to a broader North American audience, and thereby help promote Chinese culture. I believe this is a strong win-win partnership,” Bona topper Dong Yu said in a statement.

Wang Zhonglei, prexy of Huayi, said China Lion had broken important ground in reaching North American auds in the past year.

“We believe their management team will continue to build Chinese distribution in the important North America marketplace supported by strong partnerships such as AMC. We look forward to not only assisting the company with those endeavors in North America, but being a valued conduit in production and distribution in China and throughout Asia,” he said.

Popular on Variety

China Lion CEO Milt Barlow said the deal would “provide China Lion with vertical integration in distribution and production both within and outside China.”

China Lion, which is headquartered in L.A. and has offices in Toronto, Sydney, Beijing and Auckland, became the first distributor to release major Chinese theatrical features day-and-date with China as part of a deal with U.S. cinema chain AMC.

As well as North America, China Lion distributes in Australia and New Zealand, and has just commenced distribution in the U.K. Org is also looking to co-produce a number of major features over the next year.

During its first year it has released 12 pics, including tentpoles by Feng Xiaogang — “Aftershock” and “If You Are the One 2,” “What Women Want” and the propaganda epic “The Beginning of the Great Revival.”

It has also joined forces with Fox International Productions in handling the release of FIP co-productions “The Butcher, the Chef & the Swordsman” and “Love in Space.”

Deal was announced at a cocktail party in L.A. attended by Gang Tong, director of China’s State Administration of Radio, Film and Television’s State Film Bureau.

More Film

  • Mickey Rourke

    Mickey Rourke Joins Religious Drama 'Man of God'

    Pure Flix/Quality Flix has picked up international sales rights to religious drama “Man of God,” starring Mickey Rourke, Aris Servetalis and Alexander Petrov. The rights are for sale at the Berlin Film Festival. “Man of God,” directed and written by Yelena Popovic. Producers are Alexandros Potter and Yelena Popovic through their company Simeon Entertainment and [...]

  • Young Hunter

    'Young Hunter': Film Review

    Director-writer Marco Berger has been playing with same-sex seduction since his debut, “Plan B,” frequently pitching one confident gay man against a more closeted or curious conquest. Eleven years after that first feature, his latest, “Young Hunter,” continues to riff on the same theme, here exhibiting parallels with the entrapment scenario of 2011’s “Absent” in [...]

  • Kumail Nanjiani Stuber

    Film News Roundup: Kumail Nanjiani Boards Political Thriller 'The Independent'

    In today’s film news roundup, Kumail Nanjiani has been cast as a journalist, Daisy Ridley boards Imax’s “Asteroid Hunters,” “Best Summer Ever” leads off a festival, Shelley Duvall gets an honor and “Dark Harvest” lands at MGM. PROJECT LAUNCH Kumail Nanjiani will star in the political thriller “The Independent,” which is being introduced to buyers [...]

  • Balloon

    'Balloon': Film Review

    On paper, the plight of a pair of families fleeing 1979’s East Germany in a hot air balloon sounds like fabricated fodder for a spy novel. But as implausible as it sounds, this “The Mysterious Island”-esque grand escape from Deutschland’s then walled-in, oppressive slice really did happen. And nearly four decades after being the subject [...]

  • J.D. Dillard Star Wars

    New 'Star Wars' Movie in Development With 'Sleight' Director, 'Luke Cage' Writer

    Lucasfilm is developing a new “Star Wars” feature film with “Sleight” writer-director J.D. Dillard and “Luke Cage” writer Matt Owens, Variety has confirmed. The project is still in its very early stages, and all further details — characters, location, time period within the “Star Wars” creative galaxy — remain a mystery. That includes whether Dillard would [...]

  • Foster Boy

    Shaquille O'Neal on Why Foster Care Is the Great Untold Story

    It’s no secret that I have suffered some losses lately. For better or worse, my pain and grief are public. But I understand the opportunity to face the pain, learn from it, and model a behavior. I wouldn’t want it any other way. But there are hundreds of thousands of kids across the U.S. — [...]

  • Emerald Run

    'Emerald Run': Film Review

    “Emerald Run” is one of the weirdest hodgepodges to make its way to theater screens and digital platforms in quite some time. Unfortunately, oddness is just about the only thing this muddled little indie has going for it. Despite the game efforts of lead actor David Chokachi and attractive lensing by DP Michael Caradonna, the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content