×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Legendary East gets funding boost

Paul Y. Engineering Group to invest $220.5 mil for 50% stake

Legendary Pictures chief Thomas Tull has secured his latest round of funding for his Asian banner, Legendary East, raising $220.5 million over the weekend from Hong Kong’s Paul Y. Engineering Group, in exchange for a 50% stake in the entertainment venture.

PYE is best known for its property management biz in Hong Kong’s booming real estate market and engineering work that has helped shape the city’s ever-changing skyline.

It’s the latest example of Hollywood’s growing influence in one of the world’s fastest growing film markets.

One of PYE’s towers, Hong Kong’s fifth tallest skyscraper the Center, was used as a location in “The Dark Knight,” which Legendary co-financed with Warner Bros.

Either way, PYE’s investment should give Legendary the necessary backing to get its first slate of films off the ground.

In June, Tull paired up with Chinese-born Hong Kong media and finance entrepreneur Kelvin Wu to launch Legendary East to produce one or two English-language pics a year that tap into Chinese culture. First releases, which have not yet been revealed, are being prepped to bow sometime in 2013, with a $225 million credit facility now being raised to fund the first titles and overall operations.

Legendary East will enable Tull to bypass Chinese government restrictions that put a 20-pic limit on foreign films that can play in the country’s theaters, and enable him to benefit from the growing box office in the region.

Wu, formerly of Orange Sky Golden Harvest Entertainment, serves as Legendary East’s CEO, and is a principal at private equity firm AID Partners, which has entered into a “subscription agreement” to invest $35 million in PYE and will become a significant shareholder in the company.

PYE is publicly traded on the Hong Kong stock market and will raise the Legendary East funds by placing new company shares with private equity firm AID Partners, and through UBS AG, to other institutional and professional investors.

Legendary East’s financial advisors Centerview Partners and Goldman, Sachs & Co. helped facilitate the deal.

After PYE’s investment, Legendary East’s management will control 40.1%, while Huayi Brothers Intl has 9.9%.

Huayi Brothers, a leading Chinese film conglom, serves as Legendary East’s co-production and distribution partner in China, while Warners Bros. will release the films around the rest of the world.

Tull called the PYE investment “another important milestone following the recent announcement of Legendary East’s formation. We share a common vision with PYE — that with China’s rapid economic growth and rich cultural background, this is a filmmaking marketplace on the rise. We are committed to China and the surrounding region for the long run, and to producing entertainment that is globally appealing in quality, scale and impact.”

More Film

  • The Favourite Black Panther

    Audience for Best Picture Nominees Most Diverse in Years, Report Shows

    Theatergoers for Academy Awards best picture-nominated films have become younger and more diverse over the past four years, a report released exclusively to Variety showed. Movio, which specializes in cinema marketing data analytics, said the changes in demographic shifts correspond to the best picture lineup becoming more diverse since the 2015 Oscars, when the #OscarsSoWhite [...]

  • Emma Thompson

    Emma Thompson Exits Skydance Animation Movie 'Luck' Over John Lasseter Hire

    Emma Thompson has dropped out of the voice cast of Skydance Animation’s upcoming film “Luck,” a spokesperson for the actress told Variety. The beloved British star did some recording for the project, but dropped out in January, following John Lasseter’s hire to the top animation job at David Ellison’s studio, an insider close to the [...]

  • Daniel Kaluuya Lakeith Stanfield

    Daniel Kaluuya, Lakeith Stanfield in Talks to Star in Film About Black Panther Party Leader

    Daniel Kaluuya and Lakeith Stanfield are in negotiations to star in the historical drama “Jesus Was My Homeboy” about Black Panther Party leader Fred Hampton. The project is set up at Warner Bros. with “Black Panther” director Ryan Coogler producing along with Charles King through his Marco production company. Executive producers are Sev Ohanian, Zinzi [...]

  • Watch First Trailer for Motley Crue

    Watch First Trailer for Motley Crue Biopic 'The Dirt'

    Netflix has dropped the first trailer for its Motley Crue biopic “The Dirt” — based on Neil Strauss’ best-selling history of the legendarily bad-behaved ‘80s metal icons — and it looks like the film pulls no punches in terms of the band’s famously sordid history. In this two-minute trailer, we get glimpses of singer Vince [...]

  • ‘Tomorrow and Thereafter,’ ‘Diane Has the

    MyFrenchFilmFestival Prizes ‘Tomorrow and Thereafter,’ ‘Diane Has the Right Shape’

    Actress-director Noémie Lvovsky’s “Tomorrow And Thereafter,” a heartfelt homage to the director’s own mother, and Fabien Gorgeart’s “Diane Has the Right Shape,” about one woman’s surrogate motherhood, both won big at the 2019 UniFrance MyFrenchFilmFestival which skewed female in its winners and viewership, making particularly notable inroads into South East Asia and Latin America. Opening [...]

  • Vue International Chief Slams BAFTA For

    Vue International Chief Slams BAFTA for Awarding Prizes to 'Roma'

    Tim Richards, the founder and chief executive of Vue International, one of the largest cinema chains in Europe, has slammed the British Academy of Film and Television Arts for awarding prizes to Netflix’s “Roma.” Alfonso Cuaron’s black-and-white film, which is also up for several Oscars, won four BAFTAs at the awards ceremony in London on [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content