Director, film company to create Chinese 'DreamWorks'


June 18, 2010 Updated Feb 16, 2009 at 5:11 AM EDT

Hong Kong director Peter Chan Ho-sun has teamed up with China's largest private movie company to create a new film studio that they have dubbed a Chinese "DreamWorks".

China's PolyBona Film Distribution Co said it would invest 500 million yuan (73 million dollars) into Cinema Popular -- officially launched in Beijing on Sunday -- which will pool resources with Chan's We Produce studio.

It did not provide details of who the other investors would be.

Cinema Popular planned to produce 15 movies, including blockbusters and small-budget films over the next three years, Chan said in the statement.

The movies' mainland China box office revenues are expected to exceed two billion yuan in the next three years, the statement said.

Chan has won a series of awards in Asia, including the Hong Kong Film Festival Best Director award in 2007 and the Best Picture award in Taiwan's Golden Horse Film Awards last year for his epic, The Warlords.

The first film, an action movie to be directed by Hong Kong director Teddy Chan, is expected to start shooting in Shanghai in March.

"The target is to build up Cinema Popular into China's DreamWorks," Beijing-based PolyBona said, referring to the studio Hollywood moguls Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen founded in 1994.

China's movie market has been growing rapidly over the past few years, with box office takings surging to 4.4 billion yuan last year, up 30.5 percent from the previous year, according to official figures.

PolyBona, a rising film distributor in a market still dominated by state-run Chinese Film Group, received 10 million yuan from US venture capital firms Sequoia Capital and SIG Asia Investment in 2007.

The company completed a second round of fundraising last year and expected to list in the Nasdaq stock exchange around 2011, Ding Yilan, a spokeswoman of PolyBona told AFP.

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