×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

China and Hollywood Are Ready to Become Global Partners

“Powerful magnetic forces” have brought Hollywood and the Chinese film industry together. And after a period of testing each other out, the relationship has entered a new paradigm, says U.S. entertainment lawyer Lindsay Conner.

China and the States are starting to become better partners in terms of discussing critical business issues and understanding each other’s needs. It has taken a while for the bridging of cultures and styles,” says Conner, partner and co-chair of the entertainment and media practice at L.A.-based law firm Manatt, Phelps & Phillips.

“From now on there will be more Chinese investment in Hollywood and more Hollywood investment in China. These investments will involve finance, distribution and co-production.”

The objective is clear from the U.S. side. “China is the newest market on earth and the biggest growth opportunity on Hollywood’s horizon – these days the opportunity spans distribution, financing and online video,” Conner says.

The Chinese point of view is more complex. “Hollywood is the heart of the U.S. cultural engine – it has story, production and distribution techniques that Chinese would like to adopt.” And it is interesting for its ability to project soft power and for its profitability.

“Chinese firms can make blockbusters for the Chinese domestic market, but they want to move to the next level and go global. Hollywood offers the fastest growth path to that goal,” Conner says.

Conner regards the deal between Lionsgate and Hunan TV as another piece of important evidence of the accelerating trend.

“We see a Chinese entity with capital seeking to broaden its stance within the film industry, matching up with an experienced U.S. partner with a need for capital,” says Conner. “Most Hollywood studios have regular co-financing partners. It helps expand budgets and slates, and aids risk management. The deal also offers the prospect that Lionsgate may get additional films into China. They may be seen as a friendlier party.”

Conner sees the Internet giants Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent and property group Wanda as “certain to have a major say in the industry for the next 10 years and beyond.” “They are major Chinese companies with very powerful positions in the businesses that help the market – spanning information about entertainment, and the selling of entertainment.”

“They will drive to create more content and give broader choices — of international and domestic content — to the Chinese consumer,” Conner says.

“And while we have not yet reached a point where the Chinese market is mature or fulfilled, all these companies are formulating plans beyond the border of China,” Conner adds. “We are at an interesting point on the road. Maybe a turning point. To date there has been more talk than action. Looking forward we will see more action with every passing year. We’ve moved from the looking stage to the consummation.”

Popular on Variety

More Biz

  • Amazon Music

    Amazon Music Unveils HD: the ‘Highest Quality Audio’ for Streaming

    Amazon Music today became the first of the three major streaming services to offer high-definition sound with the launch of Amazon Music HD. According to the announcement, the service offers a new tier of high quality, lossless audio with more than 50 million songs in High Definition, and millions of songs in Ultra High Definition, which it claims [...]

  • Sony Corp USA Building Placeholder Logo

    Sony Rejects Breakup Proposal From Dan Loeb

    Sony has rejected the corporate breakup proposal that it received three months ago from activist investor Dan Loeb and his Third Point Capital. Loeb, who in June built up a $1.5 billion stake in the company, had called on Sony to divest its image-sensors business in order to focus more on entertainment, release value and [...]

  • CBS Studios Exterior

    CBS Credit Union Manager Sentenced to 14 Years for $40 Million Fraud

    Edward Rostohar, the longtime manager of the CBS Employees Federal Credit Union, was sentenced on Monday to 14 years in prison for embezzling $40 million. The massive fraud left the credit union insolvent. It was shuttered and taken over by the University Credit Union, which assumed the accounts of 2,800 members. Rostohar pleaded guilty in [...]

  • United Talent Agency Reveals New Logo

    UTA Unveils New Logo, Corporate Image

    UTA raised the curtain Monday on a new corporate logo. The three-dimensional image is meant to emphasize the talent agency’s focus on uniting ideas, opportunities and talent. Building signage with the new logo will go up next month at UTA’s headquarters in Beverly Hills. “Our new identity captures the multiple facets and intersections of our [...]

  • Tribune Tower

    FCC Approves Nexstar Acquisition of Tribune Media

    The FCC has voted to approve Nexstar’s $4.1 billion takeover of Tribune Media, paving the way for Nexstar to become the nation’s largest owner of television stations with more than 200 outlets serving a wide swath of the country. FCC commissioners voted 3-2 to approve the merger agreement that was reached in December. Nexstar’s pact [...]

  • Endeavor co-founder Ari Emanuel

    Endeavor Aims to Raise $620 Million With IPO

    Endeavor disclosed Monday that it expects a price between $30 and $32 per share for its initial public offering in the fall. Endeavor — the parent company of WME, UFC, IMG, Endeavor Content, Professional Bull Riders and other assets — aims to raise as much as $620 million with the sale of 19.4 million shares. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content