Skip to content
Subscriber Only

China and Hollywood Team Up for More Co-Productions

The mainland is using partnerships to develop its own movie business

Bruce Willis’s mob hit man travels to the future in next year’s movie Looper. Thanks to backing from Beijing-based DMG Entertainment, that future is in China. DMG funded the production on condition that the location was moved from France and a role was written especially for Chinese actress Xu Qing. By jumping through these hoops, the movie now qualifies as a Chinese co-production, exempting it from the nation’s 20-film-per-year import quota and allowing foreign backers to keep three times as much in box office receipts. “We are trying to be relevant to a significant market,” says DMG Chief Executive Officer Dan Mintz. “The industry is growing like a rocket ship.”

Looper is one of a wave of Sino-U.S. productions as Hollywood looks to expand in China, which is adding more than 1,400 cinema screens a year. The 2010 remake of Karate Kid, starring Jackie Chan and Jaden Smith, was produced by Sony Pictures’ Columbia TriStar and state-owned China Film Group. Fox Searchlight Pictures and Beijing-based IDG China Media teamed up for Snow Flower and the Secret Fan. “Everyone is coming in to join the bandwagon,” says Hong Kong-based Bill Kong, who co-produced the 2000 hit Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. “Ten years ago, if you made $3 million in China, you would be jumping up and down. Today it’s more like one or two hundred million.”