By Lisa Spear
Hollywood studio Warner Bros. announced plans Sunday to tap into China’s booming film market with Chinese-language productions.
The film company reached an agreement with China’s government-backed venture-capital firm China Media Capital (CMC) to establish Flagship Entertainment Group Ltd., which aims to exploit the Asian superpower’s growing appetite for blockbuster movies.
“[China’s] incredibly rich history and culture provide a huge trove of great stories, and we want to help tell those stories for new generations of filmgoers, in China and around the world,” said chairman and chief executive of Warner Bros. Kevin Tsujihara, CNN reports.
Flagship Entertainment Group Ltd. will blend the technical expertise of Warner Bros. with the financial backing of CMC at their new headquarters in Hong Kong.
Movie theater profits in China are only expected to rise: ticket sales climbed 34% last year and are expected to exceed $10 billion annually in the next three years, according to reports from Reuters and CNN.
Warner Bros., a unit of Time Warner Inc (TWX), will own 49% of the new company, while the remaining 51% will belong to CMC. The joint venture could release its first film as early as next year.
“This partnership with Hollywood’s most iconic studio will bring Warner Bros.’ deep experience in creative storytelling and unparalleled expertise in producing global titles to China’s film industry,” CMC founder and Chairman Ruigang Li said.