Some say Hollywood is a dream factory powered by other people’s money, and China has plenty of capital to give and a huge market.
The Chinese are keen to learn the ways of filmmaking. The government is aggressively pursuing film investments to gain industry savvy to build up its own entertainment industry. “They want to be the market leaders in producing films,” says Doug Belgrad, president of Columbia Pictures.
Recently, state-owned China Film Group put in $5 million to finance the remake of The Karate Kid, which grossed more than $356 million worldwide and was a huge hit in China.
This past September, Hong Kong film company, Orange Golden Harvest Entertainment, paid $25 million for a 3.3 percent stake in Legendary Pictures, producer of The Dark Knight and Inception.
Also, China’s new millionaire entrepreneurs have plenty of cash for the right project.
“Sheng Boyu, a 30-year-old real estate developer, put up $50 million to help finance Double Lives, a film about a modern day treasure hunt starring Pierce Brosnan being filmed in China,” reports Bloomberg BusinessWeek.
Hollywood executives once searched for capital in the Middle East, now Hollywood eyes China as their benefactor.
What set the Chinese investors apart from predecessors who offer Hollywood money is their desire to be very involved. “Chinese investors are very sophisticated and have been contemplating the kinds of investment they want to make,” says Charles “Skip” Paul, a long time Hollywood executive.
The prize for the Chinese is not merely making huge returns from hit movies, but to build a powerful entertainment industry that rival those of the U.S.
photo credit: columbia pictures