In a move sure to raise eyebrows on the heels of the recent announcement of Disney’s Chinese animation partnership, the studio yesterday announced that they would be co-producing the upcoming Iron Man 3 feature in China.
According to a Beijing-based DMG Entertainment press release, Walt Disney China, Marvel and DMG plan to coproduce Iron Man 3, with DMG managing the Chinese production portion as well as investing money into the project. DMG also gets Chinese distribution rights for the upcoming film, sure to be a huge hit worldwide.
One significant result of the deal is that the partnership helps Disney get around the Chinese government quota limiting theatrical release of only 20 foreign features and 14 IMAX or 3D features per year. It also ensures a government-friendly distribution partner that can maximize the film’s Chinese potential. Last year’s Chinese theatrical box office was over $2 Billion and represented 40% of the Asian market growth. Additionally, the recent re-release of Titanic 3D has brought in over $55 million in China so far. The last Transformers movie reportedly made more than $145 million in its China run.
Shane Black is set to direct the third film in the Iron Man franchise from a script he is writing with Drew Pearce. Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow and Don Cheadle are all set to reprise their roles. There is no confirmation on the next villain, though recent Internet rumors have mentioned actor Ben Kingsley in the yet unannounced role. Producer Kevin Feige is also slated to return as producer, with Alan Fine, Stan Lee, Louis D'Esposito, Charles Newirth, Victoria Alonso, Stephen Broussard and Dan Mintz as executive producers.
“The popularity of the Marvel franchise globally creates a huge opportunity to deliver fans yet another action packed film,” said Stanley Cheung, Managing Director, The Walt Disney Company, Greater China. “The co-production of Iron Man 3 in China is testimony to the importance of this audience to Disney and the local industry capability to deliver a blockbuster title,” he added.
“We look forward to working alongside DMG to bring Iron Man to the Chinese marketplace in a significant way. We are confident that Marvel’s stories will continue to be enjoyed by Chinese audiences, and adding a local flavor, and working with our new local partner, will enhance the appeal and relevance of our characters in China’s fast-growing film marketplace” said Rob Steffens, General Manager of Operations and Finance for Marvel Studios “Our collaboration with Disney and Marvel marks a milestone in the global entertainment landscape, as this signifies the first multi-billion dollar franchise to be produced between Hollywood and China,” said Dan Mintz, CEO of DMG Entertainment. “The Iron Man franchise has been a major success worldwide, and we look forward to pushing the series to new heights with Iron Man 3. The movie will further build upon its compelling storyline, and feature the hottest A-list stars, and spectacular action, which will resonate well both globally and in China, the second largest box office market in the world.”