Hollywood giants are stepping up their Chinese-language game to tap into the booming China film market with new plans to be announced this week at Filmart.
While Fox will pool resources from its international production arm to boost its Chinese-language productions including films and mini-series, Warner Brothers will reveal details of Flagship Entertainment Group, a joint venture it formed with mainland China's CMC Holdings and TVB.
Fox Networks Group Asia will co-produce Chinese-language content for global distribution with Fox International Productions, which was previously involved in Chinese-language films such as Hot Summer Days.
Cora Yim, Fox Networks Group Asia's head of Chinese entertainment, said the network had been partnering with local film companies in the region, such as Hong Kong's Emperor Motion Pictures for Sara. But with growing demand for Chinese-language content around the world, more productions would be needed, she said.
"The vision is to build on existing strong partnerships with local talents and deep experiences in creative work both locally and globally," said Yim. Yim said a number of projects were in the pipeline under this "glocal" arrangement, including Chinese-language mini-series with a production budget of US$1 million per episode – 7.8 times that of Hong Kong TV productions.
Filming of productions involving Fox's Asian and international arms would commence at the end of this year, said Yim. But she said titles were yet to be announced.
Fox has been developing ambitious plans to venture into Asia, particularly the Chinese-language market. Besides the mini-series, the Post reported earlier that Fox Networks Group Asia had plans to remake ATV's cult classic show My Date With A Vampire into a Chinese-language series for its local platforms and a new internet-based over-the-top platform to be launched later this year.
Meanwhile, Warner Brothers Entertainment, CMC Holdings and TVB will unveil projects to be produced under their Hong Kong-based joint venture Flagship Entertainment Group at Filmart on Wednesday. CMC Holdings chairman Li Ruigang, dubbed the mainland's Rupert Murdoch and also a stakeholder in the consortium that controls the majority of TVB shares, will present his plans alongside Kelvin Tsujihara, chairman and CEO of Warner Brothers Entertainment.
Mainland China is expected to take over North America as the world's largest film market as soon as next year after it raked in a record 6.87 billion yuan from the box office in February – US$250 million more than the North American market in the same month.