It’s the latest deal for a Chinese conglomerate to make its way into Hollywood. In this case, Goodman will bring his full staff of 30 and other Dichotomy assets to the company, oversee Los Angeles-based Le Vision Entertainment and report to LeEco Vice Chairman Zhang Zhao, who’s also the Chairman/CEO of China’s Le Vision Pictures.
Under the deal, announced Wednesday in Los Angeles, Goodman will be president of Le Vision Entertainment and be responsible for English-language original entertainment that will be distributed by LeEco’s content divisions around the world, including markets like China, India, and Russia, among others. Goodman and Zhao told Variety that Le Vision Entertainment focus on two areas — tentpole films for global audiences while also utilizing the Dichotomy Micro Studios banner in the lucrative micro-budget film business.
The plan is for Le Vision Entertainment to fully finance and co-produce films, aligning with studio partners on appropriate distribution, slate financing and/or co-financing opportunities. Goodman will also oversee television, virtual reality and digital.
The duo did not reveal any titles that are in development but promise that the slate will be robust with Zhao noting that LeEco’s video steaming business Leshi Internet information & Technology Corp. (also known as Letv.com) has a market capitalization of about $14 billion. LeEco’s operations include online video services, e-commerce, smart TVs, virtual reality and mobile phones.
“The distribution machine requires many different components,” Zhao said. “Content is a customer service.”
Goodman departed as president of Paramount’s Motion Picture Group in February, 2015, and launched Dichotomy last November. He met Zhao while at Paramount and was particularly impressed with how quickly his companies expanded.
“It was critical for us to find a partner who could honor and respect what we love about Hollywood, and at the same time, not be afraid to challenge conventions,” Goodman said. ” I am very grateful for the chance to collaborate with Mr. Zhang and LeEco. First and foremost, we were looking for a next-generation company with a platform that was not limited to traditional distribution and where a budget would never be an obstacle to creating an engaging story.”
Zhang Zhao founded both Enlight Pictures and Le Vision Pictures, a subsidiary of LeEco. The studio produced the box office hit “Tiny Times,” “Boonie Bears,” “The Expendables” and the upcoming “The Great Wall,” starring Matt Damon and Andy Lau and directed by Zhang Yimou.
“The Great Wall was produced with Thomas Tull’s Legendary Entertainment and is the largest U.S.-China co-production to date with an estimated budget of $160 million. The historical action epic opens in December in China and the U.S. release follows on Feb. 17.
“It’s a game-changer for how the world views co-productions,” Zhang noted.