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China Screen Press. November Issue


Galloping Horse and Digital Domain found Beijing joint venture

Nov 5, 2012 BJNews 新京报by Sun Lin-Lin                                                                      Back to CPS Articles

After buying Hollywood’s Digital Domain, vice-president of Beijing-based Galloping Horse Zhong Li-fang and CEO of Digital Domain Ed Ulbrich announced they will found a film joint venture in Beijing. Galloping Horse will be the biggest investor in the Digital Domain’s film Ender's Game.

Zhong Li-fang said the new joint venture will import the best film special-effects technology to China, and will found a special-effects studio and training school. “In the future, important special-effect scenes for important Hollywood movies will be made in Beijing.” Zhong said. Galloping Horse has indicated that if Ender's Game succeeds, a series may follow.


Surprise Australian-Chinese box-office success

Nov 6, 2012 BJNews 新京报by Yang Lin

Few would guess that October’s biggest box-office surprise, the Australian-Chinese coproduction Bait 3D, would have no-stars and an unknown director. It has earned over $24 million USD in less than thirty days, more than Taken 2 and Total Recall together.

The horror film is about a supermarket mall hit by a freak tsunami that leaves shoppers having to deal with a killer shark in the aisles – alive, rather than from the frozen foods section.

Box-office income from China accounts for 76% of the film’s total world income. Australia, only returned about $800,000 USD, in what being described as an almost a “made for China” film. Further bookings for the film through November have been confirmed for China, but further screenings in other countries have not been announced yet.

Although originally shot in the 2D, only the converted 3D version has been seen in China. Zhang Miao from distributing company Columbia head office for China said other countries screening dates have been postponed due to delays in completing ratings.

Yu Hao of the Chinese investors Yunnan Film Group says they invested 30% of the film’s budget in Bait 3D. Almost all of the film’s marketing in China was done by Chinese, noting, “The director and leading actress supported the advertising campaign very well. Co-production is better than just buying releasing rights, helping but adaption for market needs.”

Director Kimble Rendall is very excited about the film’s success, and has already begun a script for the sequel.

     Bait 3D is a “made for China” foreign movie


US 3D industry moving to China

Nov 9, 2012 Beijing Business Today 北京商报by Wang Hao

Foreign 3D production companies are moving to China in record numbers, driven by the country’s expanding market.

In the last 18 months, the Shanghai Film Group founded a joint venture with Technicolor in June 2011, Cameron Pace Group set up a China branch in August 2012, Beijing-based Galloping Horse bought Digital Domain in September 2012, China’s 3D Industrial Park was launched in Beijing in October, and a Chinese company launched a joint venture with Hydra.

Chinese distributors predict China’s total film box-office will reach $10 billion USD in three to five years. According to China’s five-year plan, there will be more than ten 3D TV channels according by 2015, with over half of China annual sale of 40 million new televisions each year being 3D capable.

Government preferential policy is also driving 3D, with Titanic production company theCameron Pace Group receiving large incentives to set up in Tianjin.


US release prices double in China

Nov 14, 2012 BJNews 新京报by Sun Lin-Lin

Hollywood studio returns for Chinese sales rights have doubled on average over the last year, matching China’s box-office growth of 30%, as it becomes the world’s second largest film market after the USA.

At the 33rd American Film Market, The Expendables 3 was offered to Chinese buyers for

$15 million USD, and settled for $14 million. Previously, the franchise’s first installment has sold for just $500,000, whilst Chinese rights for The Expendables 2 fetched $8 million for its US owners. 

The starting price for Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street starring Leonardo Di Caprio was $8 million USD, and The Mechanic 2, $6 million.

Both The Expendables and The Mechanic earned more than 100 million RMB ($16 million USD). Because the rights are buy-out, foreign companies do not receive a share of box-office, inflating release right prices for China territories.

Chinese buyers though are able to claw back some of the big license fees by innovative production deals though. The Chinese company paying $14 million USD for toy-friendly The Expendables 3 for example, has negotiated implant-advertising rights that it hopes to on-sell to big companies.


Transformers 4seeks Chinese co-pro partner

Nov 16, 2012 Mtime 时光网by NiuYaoKe

Director Michael Bay and Paramount Pictures are trying to shoot Transformers 4 in China with a Chinese co-production partner, because of their earlier film’s healthy Chinese box-office.

Transformers 3earned $176 million USD from China in 2011, about 15% of its total world box-office income. Another reason is cost saving, with Michael Bay quoting significantly lower production costs for China than America.

 The Hollywood Reporter notes a Paramount spokesperson saying, “Transformers 4 is not a co-production yet, but China is always our first choice.”

    Transformers 4 logo


Production companies fight exhibitors for box-office share

Nov 21,2012 NanDu 南方都市报by Zhu Yan-xia

Ahead the Spring Festival in November, China’s biggest important box-office season,

five major Chinese production companies have demanded a 2% higher split from exhibitors to 45% of box-office returns.

Projection companies have refused the demand, with thirteen projection companies citing increased costs from cinema improvements and higher rents.

Some production companies have threatened an embargo on releasing, but this is unlikely to occur.


Taiwan calls for film awards to be scrapped after poor haul

November 28, 2012, South China Morning Post, by Lawrence Chun

Taiwan's failure to win more awards at the Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival has triggered debate on the island, including among lawmakers, about whether the half-century-old regional gala should be stopped.

Hong Kong and mainland films dominated the 49th annual awards show - considered the Chinese-language Oscars - on Saturday. Of the 23 awards, four went to Taiwan, including best new director and best actress.

Local media described it as the island's worst setback at the event in 20 years, and frustrated Taiwanese film lovers have lashed out at the panel of judges, questioning their fairness.

Taiwan's showing was so poor that some opposition lawmakers from the Democratic Progressive Party have called for the event to be scrapped.

However, some Taiwanese movie directors and producers defended the awards.

"Do they want to throw away a cash cow?" said acclaimed director Hou Hsiao-hsien, adding that the Golden Horse awards were the highest-rated and fairest in the Chinese-speaking world.