Warner Bros. Expands into China with Co-Venture

Warner Bros. Pictures, the China Film Group and the Hengdian Group have partnered on a joint venture, Warner China Film HG Corp., to create films and television programs for the Chinese market, reports HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. The venture is the first with the People's Republic of China and a U.S. company to create filmed entertainment.

Warner China Film will develop, invest in, produce, market and distribute Chinese-language feature films, telefilms and animation aimed at the Chinese market. Production budgets will range from about RMB12 million-RMB50 million ($1.5 million-$6 million) for features and from about RMB1.7-RMB2.5 million ($200,000-$300,000) for each telefilm.

Yang Buting, chairman of the China Film Group, will serve as the initial chairman of the board of Warner China Film; Richard Fox, evp international at Warner Bros., will serve as vice chairman. The company will be based in Beijing, and Han Sanping, gm of the China Film Group, will serve as Warner China Film's initial gm.

Warner has similar efforts in the U.K., Germany, France, Italy, Japan, Brazil and Spain. Few of the projects get released in the States, however the French lingo epic Jean-Pierre Jeunet's A VERY LONG ENGAGEMENT will get released in the U.S. by Warner Independent Pictures.

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