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February 20, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Xi Jinping

The visit of Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping to the U.S. ended on Friday with the surprise announcement that China would ease its restrictions on the number of foreign movies that it permits to be screened in the country and will raise the amount of ticket revenue that studios can receive. The deal raises to 34 the number of non-Chinese features that can be screened in the country annually — up from 20. (Seemingly the additional films must be produced in 3D and/or IMAX.) Studios will receive 25 percent of the revenue collected at the box office — up from 13 percent. The deal was reached even as Hollywood studios were continuing to implement new plans involving Chinese investors that would allow them to produce films inside China that would not be covered by the import restrictions. On Friday, DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg announced a joint venture with Chinese investors to create a new family entertainment company, Oriental DreamWorks, in which the U.S. studio will be the minority shareholder (45 percent), while Shanghai Media Group and Shanghai Alliance Investment would be the majority shareholder (55 percent). The alliance, said Katzenberg, aims to build “a first-of-its kind enterprise to locally conceive, produce and distribute high-quality creative content … not only for the people of China but also for related export markets.” The company already has a similar deal in place in India, where much of last year’s Puss in Boots was created.