×

SHANGHAI – Top U.S. indie producer Jason Blum (“Insidious,” “Whiplash”) is exploring the possibility of setting up shop in China.

Blum and his Blumhouse Productions business partner Charles Layton have this week held a series of meetings in Shanghai. They they were part of a delegation of Hollywood and finance industry executives attending the opening of Film Finances Inc.’s first China office.

“We are looking to replicate the same model we have in North America,” said Layton.

“We are less interested in bringing U.S. movies into China, and more interested in bringing the process here, using the techniques we have in the U.S. with Chinese directors and producers,” Blum told Variety. “We want to find scary stories here in China.”

That would mean involvement in producing low-budget, youth-targeted horror for the Chinese market. “If it can export, so much the better,” said Blum.

Blum made it clear that he and Layton are currently at an exploratory stage, but explained that the company could make use of its existing network of connections, such as the 10 year deal Blumhouse has with Universal Pictures. Blum and Layton met with senior staff from Universal’s recently established China office on the trip.

“We would logically work with Universal as they also want to do local production in China,” said Blum. “We’d also want to work with a local distributor in China, and local producers.”

“We will start one picture at a time, then expand to have a slate,” he said.

Attracted by the fast-expanding theatrical and ancillary markets in the Middle Kingdom, several Hollywood studios and U.S. independents are now in the process of setting long-term Chinese production strategies. Others include Legendary Pictures, DreamWorks Animation’s Oriental DreamWorks, Fox International Productions and Village Roadshow.

A model for the eventual Blumhouse China operations could be the firm’s genre film production alliance in India. That sees the company pacted with Indian production outfit Phantom Pictures and Asia-focussed U.S. film financier Ivanhoe Pictures.