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Dick Cook Studios Gets $500 Million Investment From China’s Film Carnival

Marking a major step forward for Dick Cook Studios, the Burbank-based production and distribution company has landed $500 million in film financing from China-based Film Carnival, it was announced Tuesday.

Film Carnival will finance 100% of the movies produced, while the company founded by the former Disney executive will be responsible for the development, production, worldwide distribution and marketing. The announcement comes at the end of a conference in China sponsored by Dick Cook Productions to promote future development of entertainment content.

The announcement came jointly from Cook, chairman of the studio bearing his name, and Lou Xiaolou, chairman of Film Carnival Co. Ltd. The American company has agreed to help Film Carnival produce its own slate of motion pictures in China, while the Chinese company will help push for additional Chinese investors to support Cook’s operation.

Cook deemed himself “thrilled” at the arrangement and added: “They are not only visionaries in strategic financing but in the future of entertainment. They are the perfect partners as they share our vision of telling great stories for the entire family to be enjoyed across the globe.”

The announcement says the first film to be made under the agreement will be “Ranger’s Apprentice,” with a screenplay from Paul Haggis (“Million Dollar Baby” and “Crash”), along with his daughter, Alissa Sullivan Haggis. Haggis will direct the movie and share producing duties with his HWY 61 partner Michael Nozik (“Syriana,” “The Motorcycle Diaries”). The pic is set to begin production in the fall.

The film comes from the series of 12 books by author John Flanagan, which have sold more than 8.5 million copies in 27 territories around the world. It has also been on the New York Times bestseller list for 70-plus weeks.

“‘Ranger’s Apprentice’ is only the beginning to our strategic plan of a more comprehensive collaboration,” Xiaolou said. “I look forward to working together for the future of the art of filmmaking.”

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