Paramount Pictures is to hire a new general manager to head its operations in the booming Chinese market. That follows the upcoming departure of Zhe Chen.
Par said that it is expanding its business in China. It will also shift its China office from Shanghai to Beijing. The relocation reflects a market reality. Shanghai is China’s business capital, but Beijing is the center of political power and the focus of the film industry.
Paramount says the move will take place over several months and that Zhe Chen, its current g.m., will not be making the transition for personal reasons. Zhe had been with Paramount and its predecessor releasing operation UIP for 14 years. Paramount said that it hopes to announce a new hiring within the coming weeks.
The studio opened the Shanghai office in July 2009 in order to work alongside China Film Group, the state-owned group that handles releases of all the foreign titles imported into China under a revenue-sharing program. Its first release was “GI Joe: Rise of the Cobra.”
The studio has seen a clutch of Paramount titles do huge business in the Middle Kingdom, including the “Transformers” titles, the last of which involved Chinese production partners. Paramount also distributed “Kung Fu Panda” and its sequel on behalf of DreamWorks Animation.
The third “Kung Fu Panda” film is currently in production in China and is a full co-production with Shanghai-based Oriental DreamWorks. It will be released as a local Chinese movie.