Brisbane-based Tangren Cultural Film Group has acquired multinational company Asia Releasing, a distributor and marketing firm specializing in the handling of Chinese films. Milt Barlow, industry veteran and Asia Releasing founder, will stay on as COO of Tangren.
Tangren has quickly built up a 60% market share of the box office for Chinese and Korean movies in Australia. It recently released “Along With the Gods 1 & 2,” China’s “Operation Red Sea” and “How Long Will I Love You.” The company has a current slate of 25 to 30 films for the next year, in Australia, New Zealand, North America and the U.K.
Tangren expects to have a major presence at this year’s American Film Market in November. It will open a North American hub in Los Angeles in the first months of 2019 and is evaluating other markets.
Previously president and CEO of Village Roadshow Entertainment, Barlow was a co-founder and CEO of China Lion, which helped open up the market for contemporary Chinese films in English-speaking territories. Barlow was one of the pioneers of day-and-date releasing of mainstream Chinese movies to Chinese diaspora audiences in the West. He released his first Chinese-language movie, “Ip Man,” in 2008 , in New Zealand.
“Milt’s experience in releasing Chinese and Asian product in the West is unparalleled. In the past decade he has released over 120 Chinese movies as well as assisting major studios such as Fox, Lionsgate and Sony with their Chinese release strategies in the West,” said Tangren CEO Kristy Wang. “His guidance and experience will play a critical role in the continued expansion of Tangren to become the leading global distributor of Asian film.”
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“The world of Asian film distribution in the West is undergoing a period of consolidation and enhancement as the business continues to grow,” Barlow said. “With Tangren’s approach of acquiring the best product available on a worldwide basis and backing their films with extensive marketing, secured by well-resourced funding lines and staffing allowed me to take my passion for Asian film over the past 10 years to the next level.”