China Mainstream to Invest $300 Million in 10 Movies

A Chinese film-finance group plans to invest $300 million in 10 English-language films, starting with “Ming: The Annihilator,” based on a character from Spider-Man creator Stan Lee.

National Film Capital, a government-backed entertainment company, is developing projects that will appeal to international audiences, the Beijing-based company said yesterday in an e-mailed statement. The company will also invest in the Chinese theater business, to become a major player in both the U.S. and in China.

The company’s Beverly Hills, California-based unit, China Mainstream Media National Film Capital, will produce and distribute English-language pictures with major Hollywood studios and independent moviemakers, according to the statement. The parent company is run by Yang Bu Ting, former chairman of the government-run China Film Group, the country’s largest producer and distributor.

“The Chinese film industry needs Hollywood expertise and Hollywood needs the Chinese market,” Liu Yuan, co-chairman and president of China Mainstream, said in the statement. “We are the perfect one-stop China turn-key partner for Hollywood.”

The company plans to develop a 2,000-screen cinema presence in China, through building locations, buying out owners or forming partnerships with existing operators.

China Mainstream said in February that it planned to create a film fund to focus on co-productions involving U.S. producers and writers. Yang said in a March interview that National Film’s U.S. outpost was looking to combine American talent with stories that have a strong Chinese element.

U.S. Expansion

A number of other Chinese film companies are expanding into U.S. entertainment markets.

DMG Entertainment, based in Beijing, is producing “Iron Man 3” with Burbank, California-based Walt Disney Co. (DIS) The chairman of Beijing-based Bona Film Group Ltd. (BONA), Yu Dong, said in April that his company was in talks with major studios, including News Corp. (NWSA)’s Fox and Viacom Inc. (VIAB)’s Paramount, about co-productions.

Dalian Wanda Group, controlled by billionaire real-estate developer Wang Jianlin, agreed in May to buy AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. (AMC), to create the world’s biggest cinema owner.

Ticket sales in China rose about 30 percent to $2 billion last year, making it the biggest market after the U.S. and Japan, according to the Motion Picture Association of America. By comparison, worldwide box-office revenue rose 3.2 percent.

The MPAA said that China surpassed Japan for second place in the first quarter on a 12-month basis.

To contact the reporter on this story: Michael White in Los Angeles at mwhite8@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo at apalazzo@bloomberg.net

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