Last month, I wrote an article about the difficulties Hollywood faces in exploiting the lucrative Chinese cinemagoing market and how the Communist government are restricting the import of foreign movies. Relativity Media has taken a new approach to getting around this problem by making a significant investment in a local production company, SkyLand, a partnership which also involves the private equity firm SAIF Partners and IDG China, the Chinese branch of the Bostonian technology and publishing company.
The deal will see the three partners (controlling a total budget of around $100m) producing movies and TV shows based on Chinese culture, which they hope to then sell around the world. With SkyLand having also formed a link with the state-owned distribution company Huaxia Film Distribution, Relativity will now have an avenue through which their US movies will find a platform in the territory. It’s a clever move and at an important time for Relativity, as they make the challenging change from co-financing movies to producing their own. Immortals (starring future Superman Henry Cavill), Snow White (the one with Julia Roberts and Lilly Collins) and period mystery thriller The Raven are all now set for Chinese distribution as part of the deal. Fingers crossed for them that the Chinese government doesn’t in the meantime decide to release a couple of propaganda movies instead.[via LA Times]