You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

CANNES: Top Executives Demystify China’s Growing Film Market

Demystifying China’s growing film market was the key task of senior executives assembled Friday in Cannes at The International Film Finance Forum.

The annual event is organized by Winston Baker and sponsored by Variety.

“China’s BO market potential is a mystery, but the way that the system operates is not,” said Jeffrey Chan, COO of Bona Film Group. “With the exception of the import quota, the distribution system is basically the same as everywhere else.”

Producer David U. Lee, head of Leeding Media, helpfully explained why box office records are being broken with such regularity. Audiences are rising in line with the growing number of cinemas being built, but as the supply of imported films remains limited the numbers for each movie get bigger. “In fact average box office per theatre has been flattening out for the past two years as cinema expands to third and fourth tier cities [where ticket prices are lower],” he said.

Li Yansong, president of iQIYI Motion Pictures, was on hand to explain how the online video companies are changing the Chinese film business.

“When we release a trailer two or three months out and we get 10 million views, it gives us great information as to which regions are responding,” Li said. “Big data allows us to mitigate risk when developing or own projects.

IM Global’s David Jourdan said that global interest in the growing Chinese marketplace does not – yet – translate into equivalent international interest in Chinese-language movies. “Pre-sales potential is still limited, so we can’t use the same production finance model as on English-language movies.”

That gap does not mean a lack of cash for film-making in China. “There is no shortage of film finance in China. Rather there is a shortage of good projects,” said David Lee.

Another panel heard executives discuss the growing array of Sino-foreign corporate alliances. The Weinstein Company’s David Glasser said TWC had spent much of the last three years trying to learn the fast-changing market before hatching deals. “We’ve just done a picture with Wanda,” he said, a reference to the Antoine Fuqua-directed “Southpaw.”

“We see China as an amazing source of movies for European viewers, we want to help Chinese movies be seen in more and more countries,” said Wild Bunch’s Vincent Grimond, before letting the audience in on what he joked was a “dirty secret.”

“We also see Asia as a potential partner to get married with Europe and do some kind of counter-power to the United States.”

More Biz

  • Assistant Attorney General, Antitrust Division nominee

    Justice Department Moves to End Paramount Antitrust Decrees

    The Department of Justice will seek to end the Paramount consent decrees, the landmark agreements that have barred studios from owning theaters for the last 70 years. Makan Delrahim, the head of the department’s antitrust division, made the announcement Monday in a speech to the American Bar Association fall forum on antitrust. He argued that [...]

  • Viacom HQ LA

    ViacomCBS Sets HR and Inclusion Chiefs

    ViacomCBS has named corporate heads of HR and inclusion as the companies prepare for the merger that is set to close early next month. The soon-to-combine Viacom and CBS have tapped Nielsen alum Nancy Phillips to serve as exec VP and chief people officer. Viacom alum Marva Smalls will serve as global head of inclusion, [...]

  • Sony Pictures Studio Culver City

    Sony Pictures Entertainment Buys AT&T's Stake in Game Show Network

    Sony Pictures Entertainment has bought out AT&T’s minority interest in Game Show Network for about $500 million. The deal makes Sony the sole owner of GSN. AT&T had owned 42% of the company, which the telco giant inherited with its purchase of DirecTV in 2015. AT&T has been on a mission this year to pay [...]

  • John Malone

    John Malone Boosts Stake in Discovery With $75 Million Stock Purchase

    John Malone has upped his stake in Discovery Inc. by purchasing $75 million worth of stock on the open market. Malone picked up just under 2.7 million shares in Discovery at $28.03 on Nov. 14, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing. Malone was already the company’s single-largest individual shareholder who holds super-voting shares [...]

  • the firt Motley Crue books Nikki

    Motley Crue to Tour in 2020?

    Even though Motley Crue signed a legal document confirming that their lucrative 2014-15 “Final Tour” would be their last, the group is plotting a trek in 2020, sources tell Variety. Rolling Stone reported today that Def Leppard and Poison will be joining the group for the tour, which it says will include stadiums; reps for [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content