James Cameron inks Chinese j.v. pact

Venture to develop 3D technology, boost training

BEIJING — James Cameron’s Cameron Pace Group has set up a joint venture in the northern Chinese city of Tianjin to develop 3D film equipment and provide training for making movies, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

Financial details were not revealed, and it’s understood that the j.v. will not be involved immediately in producing films.

It’s the latest high-profile link-up between Hollywood and China.

On Tuesday, DreamWorks Animation said the next episode in the “Kung Fu Panda” franchise would be co-produced in China with local partners.

The j.v. deal was signed by Cameron and his business partner Vince Pace, along with Tianjin Hitech Holding Group topper Gong Jing and Tianjin North Film Group chairman Wang Dafang.

Cameron said the success of his films “Avatar” and “Titanic” in China demonstrated the local audience’s love of 3D, and that is why they chose to share their 3D technology with the country.

The 3D re-release of “Titanic” grossed $154 million in China this year, its most successful market in the world, and Cameron has been bullish about the country for a while.

He spoke very positively about the possibilities of developing 3D in China during the Beijing Film Festival in April, when he said he was exploring production facilities with a view to perhaps making “Avatar” sequels in the city.

Tianjin aims to establish itself as a film hub. A coastal city around 30 minutes from Beijing by high-speed train, Tianjin has been growing in recent years by aggressively attracting high-tech industries to set up there.

Chinese entrepreneur Bruno Wu’s Harvest Seven Stars Entertainment said in April it was linking up with Tianjin city government to build Chinawood, a $1.27 billion film and media hub over 8.6 million square feet.

Among Chinawood’s functions will be a co-production film financing platform, a co-production service center with post facilities, a facility for 3D conversion and a distribution and marketing center.

And China’s leading private shingle Bona said it was planning to invest in a new 3D film technology center in Tianjin with Hong Kong helmer Tsui Hark.

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