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Chinese group raises stakes in English-lang film

Chinese group raises stakes in English-lang film

By Patrick Frater

Mon, 12 December 2011, 17:37 PM (HKT)

Industry News

English-language movie-making will become a major part of the strategy for Chinese film companies, led by Bona Film Group Co Ltd 博納影業集團有限公司 and Huayi Brothers Media Corporation 華誼兄弟傳媒股份有限公司.

While Huayi is already in business as a partner with Legendary Pictures LLC in English-language film company Legendary East Ltd 傳奇東方, Bona is determined not to be left behind.

It sees the move into English as a reflection of its growing maturity a year on from its stock flotation.

Hollywood star, Catherine Zeta-Jones (pictured right, with CHEN Kun 陳坤, left and Bona's YU Dong 于冬, centre) rang the opening bell in New York on Friday at the NASDAQ stock exchange as celebration of Bona's first anniversary as a listed company.

"Hollywood has done a fantastic job promoting its industry to the world and projecting its universal values," said Bona CEO Yu Dong from New York. "We would like to leverage this Hollywood strength and add Chinese elements."

Yu says he envisages real Hollywood-Chinese joint-venture projects that will promote Chinese stories to a worldwide audience.

"Having Catherine Zeta-Jones ring the bell is a good indication of the bridge we are looking to create," said Yu.

Yu said that Bona expects to unveil two major movie projects with Hollywood partners in the course of 2012.

In the nearer term Yu described the upcoming Christmas to Chinese New Year releasing period as "exciting."

Traditionally the busiest season at the Chinese box office, the season is this time condensed by the early Lunar New Year and particularly congested with major releases.

"There is a unique situation with two major Chinese films releasing at the same date," said Yu referring to Bona's Flying Swords of Dragon Gate 龍門飛甲 (2011), directed by TSUI Hark 徐克, and The Flowers of War 金陵十三釵 (2011), directed by ZHANG Yimou 張藝謀. "I expect we can look forward to a record opening day."

Yu confirmed that WONG Kar-wai 王家衛's long awaited The Grandmaster 一代宗師 (2013), once scheduled to be part of this year's Christmas crush, is still some months away from being ready. "It will be released some time between next summer and Christmas 2012."

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