“Someone to Talk to,” a Chinese relationship drama in which a man discovers his wife’s extra-marital affairs and considers killing her, is prominent among the debut American Film Market slate of CMC Pictures. It enjoyed a wide release in Chinese theaters this weekend.
Founded earlier this year, the company is the rights sales arm of the China Media Capital group, a powerhouse fund group. Under the chairmanship of former Shanghai Media Group boss Li Ruigang, CMC has some 80 media investments and is weaving together an integrated conglomerate that stretches from film production and distribution, through sports ownership to VR and smart TV technology.
Among CMC’s highest profile holdings is Flagship Entertainment, a joint venture with Warner Bros. to make Chinese movies.
CMC Pictures expects to handle the smaller-budget movies flowing from the CMC portfolio companies including Flagship, Gravity Pictures, vfx and production firm BaseFX, and Infinity Pictures, a production outfit headed by former Weinstein Co. and Sony executive Dede Nickerson.
One of the first such Flagship titles to be handled by CMC Pictures is “When Larry Met Mary,” a relationship comedy directed by Zhang Wen that was released in July for a gross of $40 million. (IM Global is handling the larger-budget Flagship picture “the Adventurers” at the AFM.)
CMC is also handling Aaron Kwok- and Gong Li-starring “Monkey King 2” from Hong Kong’s Filmko, which grossed $185 million in Chinese theaters; and “Time Raiders,” from Le Vision Pictures, which grossed $150 million.
Currently unreleased CMC titles include: “Suddenly Seventeen,” a body swap comedy that marks the feature directing debut of Zhang Mo, Zhang Yimou’s daughter; and “Buddies in India,” a film about a nobody and his surreal experiences abroad is directed, stars and is co-produced by Wang Bao-Qiang, the star of smash hits “Lost in Thailand” and “Detective Chinatown.” Enlight Pictures is the film’s other producer, and, with a prime Dec. 23 release date, expectations are high that it will be one of the biggest movies of the year.
“China has very few film sales companies. We are here for the long-term and expect to attend all of the major markets from now on, including FilMart and Cannes,” said Wei Jingyi, a veteran executive with previous positions including National Geographic Channel and Bloomberg.