×

China Media Capital Trio Takes Control at Iconic Shaw Brothers

Li Ruigang and two fellow executives from his China Media Capital group have taken three directorial positions at iconic Hong Kong studio Shaw Brothers.

The company made famous by Sir Run Run Shaw was once a dominant force in Hong Kong and Asian cinema, but largely ceased film production in 1987. Today, however, the company holds a key 26% stake in Television Broadcasts (TVB), Hong Kong’s leading free-to-air TV broadcaster and owner of one of the largest Chinese language rights catalogs in the world.

Li has been appointed chairman and non-executive director of Shaw. He is joined by Jiang Wei, MD of the CMC-owned mainland Chinese film distributor Gravity Pictures, who is appointed an executive director of Shaw. Also joining is Thomas Hui, president, chief strategy officer and executive director of CMC Holdings, who will be an non-executive director.

They replace chairman Allan Yap, and directors Gu Jiong and Wong Ka Ching, who are all resigning due to other “heavy work commitments” elsewhere.

The appointments further increase the control of Li and his CMC team over TVB, following Li’s appointment as chairman of TVB last week. That appointment added to some industry concerns that mainland Chinese interests are dominating Hong Kong’s supposedly unrestricted media not through censorship or central government control, but by economic ownership instead. Another high profile example was the acquisition earlier this year of the South China Morning Post newspaper by Alibaba.

The executive appointments also further expand CMC’s control over the Flagship Entertainment Chinese film production venture with Warner Bros. CMC and TVB have a narrow majority of the shares and Gravity Pictures is set as the unit’s distributor in mainland China.

CMC also owns the Fortune Star library of films produced by Shaw’s arch rival Golden Harvest.

Boasting a Hong Kong stock market listing of its own, Shaw could now be positioned to become a far more active company than of late, either as a production company or as a vehicle for fund raising.

In its heyday, Shaw was responsible for iconic Hong Kong studio movie classics films including “One Armed Swordsman,” and “The 36th Chamber of Shaolin.” As the golden age of Hong Kong cinema waned, Shaw ended film production to concentrate for over a decade on television. In 2002 its film catalog – some 760 titles – were sold in 2002 to Malaysian billionaire Ananda Krishnan who used them to found Celestial Pictures, a company that now has a TV channels business with Lionsgate and Saban.

Shaw tentatively restarted film production in 2009 though volumes have been low. In the last year, it has been involved as a partner in two film adaptations of TVB series, that went on to become hits in mainland China. Its “Line Walker” recently earned $90.9 million, while “Triumph In The Skies” earned $24.6 million in 2015.

More Biz

  • Pinewood Studios James Bond

    Netflix's Shepperton Studios Deal Is Stretching the U.K.'s Production Limits

    Netflix’s huge new hub at Shepperton Studios outside London is a further fillip for Britain’s booming production sector. Amid jitters over Brexit and its effects on the economy, the streaming giant’s commitment is a vote of confidence in the U.K. entertainment industry and a continuing source of local jobs. But the decision by Netflix to [...]

  • It

    Producer Sues Warner Bros. Over 'It' Film Adaptations

    A producer who developed the original “It” TV miniseries sued Warner Bros. on Thursday, alleging the studio breached his contract by making the films “It” and “It Chapter Two” without him. Frank Konigsberg and Larry Sanitsky were running Telepictures in the early 1980s when they acquired the rights to the Stephen King novel. They developed [...]

  • Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer

    Starz Nears Realignment: Why Lionsgate Won't Hire a CEO to Replace Chris Albrecht

    Nearly six months after Starz CEO Chris Albrecht exited in February, Lionsgate brass is moving closer to a revamp of the premium TV network’s executive structure. According to insiders, at least one thing is clear: Albrecht is not expected to be replaced as CEO. Instead, Lionsgate chief executive Jon Feltheimer is taking a more active [...]

  • Movie Ticket Subscriptions

    As MoviePass Fades, Theaters Fall In Love With Subscription Services

    MoviePass may be cratering, but movie theater subscriptions are here to stay. AMC and Cinemark already operate their own online ticketing services. And by the end of July, Regal Entertainment is expected to unveil a subscription plan for customers accustomed to getting all manner of entertainment for a monthly fee. With ticket sales down more [...]

  • John FordNPact Awards, Show, Los Angeles,

    John Ford to Exit as Head of Unscripted Producers Trade Association NPact

    John Ford has stepped down as general manager of NPact, the trade association that represents unscripted TV producers. Ford is exiting the post he’s held since 2015 because of the potential for conflicts of interest arising from his role as head of programming for digital multicast outlets Justice Network and Quest Network. The channels were [...]

  • Woodstock 50 Applies for Vernon Downs

    Woodstock 50 Applies for Vernon Downs Permit Yet Again

    For better or worse, Woodstock 50 isn’t giving up on Vernon Downs, despite being rejected twice already: The producers have applied for another permit to hold the festival at Vernon Downs, according to the Utica Observer Dispatch. Town Attorney Vincent Rossi confirmed the application was submitted Wednesday. This is the festival’s third application; previous applications [...]

  • Bert and Ernie

    Sally Field, Linda Ronstadt and 'Sesame Street' Among 2019 Kennedy Center Honorees

    Sally Field, Linda Ronstadt, “Sesame Street,” conductor Michael Tilson Thomas and R&B veterans Earth, Wind and Fire have been selected as the 2019 Kennedy Center Honorees. The kudos will be handed out Dec. 8 at the Kennedy Center Opera House in Washington, D.C. The award to “Sesame Street” marks the first time the prestigious laurel [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content