×

Dick Cook Studios Launches with $150 Million Chinese Investment

Former Disney chairman Dick Cook is launching Dick Cook Studios with a $150 million investment from Citic Guoan Group Co. Ltd., a division of the state-owned Chinese conglomerate Citic Group.

Listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, Citic is China’s largest conglomerate. It had assets under management of US$967 billion (HK$5,948 billion) at the end of 2014, and equity attributable to ordinary shareholders of US$68 billion (HK$418 billion).

“I am thrilled to formally announce the launch of Dick Cook Studios,” Cook said. “Our mission will always be to provide the very best in family entertainment inclusive of all generations, which inspires, engages, excites and always contributes positively not only to our communities but to the world at large. We will have many more announcements in the coming weeks and months as our long standing plans come together.”

Cook was chairman of the Walt Disney Studios from 2002 to 2009. The announcement noted that during his tenure, Disney released 60 films that grossed more than $100 million each domestically. Cook oversaw the “Pirates of the Caribbean” and “National Treasure” franchises, as well as “The Incredibles” and “Finding Nemo.”

But after working for Disney for nearly 40 years, Cook was ousted as studio chief in 2009. He had been struggling for the past five years  to raise $1 billion to create his own family-friendly film studio, complete with development, production, distribution, marketing and advertising divisions.

Other than serving on the board of Legendary Pictures since 2011 and executive producing the 2013 Jackie Robinson biopic “42,” he has kept a low profile since leaving Disney six years ago. He sits on the board of governors for the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, where he currently serves as Treasurer of the Academy, as well as chairman of the board for KCET Public Television.

The announcement was made late Sunday night in Los Angeles and Monday at the ongoing Beijing Film Market. It described the new studio as “a creative content company focusing exclusively on the development, production, marketing and distribution of multi-generational family entertainment including live-action and animated motion pictures, television, digital, educational media, stage and other themed entertainment among other avenues.”

CITIC Guoan chairman Li Shilin said: “With Mr. Cook and his highly respected team, we are guaranteed that every segment of our cooperation will be of the highest standards. They appreciate and understand traditional Chinese culture, and they look forward to telling Chinese stories that will play to families across the globe. We both believe that cultural works in spreading love and positive energy is the world’s eternal theme.”

Last month Citic announced the establishment of a $500 million fund with Australia’s Village Roadshow. The fund is intended to back development of theme parks in Asia.

Cook’s  deal is the latest in a growing list of U.S. studios and production companies that are tapping into Chinese investment. The two most recent came a month ago with STX Entertainment securing a three-year deal to produce 18 films with China’s Huayi Brothers Media and Hunan TV closing a deal to invest $375 million in Lionsgate’s movie slate over three years.

China’s Fosun last year agreed to make a $200 million investment in Jeff Robinov’s Sony-based Studio 8 production company. And in 2012, Dalian Wanda Group bought AMC Theatres for $2.6 billion.

 

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Leonardo Dicaprio Once Upon a Time

    Leonardo DiCaprio's Earth Alliance Commits $5 Million to Amazon Fires

    Earth Alliance, an environmental initiative backed by Leonardo DiCaprio, has committed $5 million toward the preservation of the Amazon rain forest following an alarming surge in wildfires. After launching Sunday, the organization’s emergency Amazon Forest Fund is working to support local partners and indigenous communities in their efforts to protect the sensitive habitats within the [...]

  • (from left) Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson)

    Box Office: 'Hobbs & Shaw' Scores $102 Million Debut in China, Nears $600 Million Globally

    Universal’s “Hobbs & Shaw” returned to first place on the international box office charts, thanks to a massive $102 million debut in China. The “Fast & Furious” spinoff, starring Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham, collected another $120 million overseas, boosting its foreign tally to $441 million. “Hobbs & Shaw” is nearing the $600 million mark [...]

  • Angel Has Fallen

    Box Office: 'Angel Has Fallen' Rises to No. 1 With $21 Million Debut

    “Angel Has Fallen,” the third chapter in Lionsgate and Millenium’s action franchise starring Gerard Butler, had a stronger opening weekend than expected, collecting $21.25 million during its first three days of release. Those ticket sales were enough to top domestic box office charts, bumping last weekend’s champ, Universal’s comedy “Good Boys,” to second place. Starring [...]

  • Amanda

    ‘Amanda’ Takes Home Best Int’l Film at 15th Sanfic

    SANTIAGO, Chile    French director Mikhael Hers’ “Amanda” scooped up the Best Int’l Film award Saturday (Aug. 24) at the 15th Santiago Int’l Film Fest (Sanfic), which reported a 20% audience uptick in the past two years and continues to grow its reputation as the most vibrant and prominent film festival in Latin America’s Southern [...]

  • disney d23

    Cruella, Kit Harington and Black Panther's Return: Everything We Learned at D23 Day Two

    Not to be outdone by the avalanche of series orders and casting announcements bolstering the new streaming series Disney Plus, Walt Disney Studios showed off its film wares in a marathon presentation at D23 on Saturday. The Anaheim, Calif. expo brought star power, if perhaps fewer surprises than Friday’s presentation, as fans in princess and [...]

  • Harvey Weinstein, Katie Holmes, Taylor Swift'The

    Taylor Swift Downplays Association With Harvey Weinstein

    Taylor Swift’s association with disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein was among the topics the singer addressed in a revealing new interview with The Guardian. Weinstein held producer credits for the movies “One Chance” and “The Giver,” both of which featured Swift — in the former, a song, and in the latter, a supporting role. She [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content