It’s not too surprising to see all the Hollywood “stars” dancing to the tune of their Chinese masters.
Wanda’s Wang Jianlin Warns Against U.S. Protectionism in Entertainment Sector
“If China were to retaliate it would be bad for both parties — I do not wish to see that scenario materializing,” China’s richest man said during a Q&A session in Davos.
Addressing the global elite in Davos, Switzerland, China’s richest man urged the U.S. not to erect barriers against Chinese investment into Hollywood.
“That would be a step back,” Wang Jianlin, chairman of property and entertainment conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group, said during a Q&A session at the World Economic Forum on Wednesday. “That will be about protectionism emerging in the U.S.,” he added.
Wanda’s ongoing buying spree in Hollywood, including last year’s acquisitions of Legendary Entertainment and Dick Clark Productions, has raised alarm among some U.S. politicians. Bipartisan lawmakers, including the incoming Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer, have called for closer scrutiny of such deals to see whether they are being directed by Chinese government interests.
Wang argued that his investments in the U.S. have been “a good thing,” however. “We don’t interfere with the content — I just want the profit,” he said.
China Secretly Purchases Hollywood
Media industry analysts have warned that Hollywood has become so awash with Chinese funding that China now essentially owns and controls most of the Hollywood entertainment industry.
A Beijing-based purchase of US film studio Legendary Pictures by Dalian Wanda Group represents the largest-ever film industry takeover by a Chinese company, with $3.5 billion spent on allowing China to become the second biggest box officer player in Hollywood.
Yahoo News reports: Legendary, the maker of “Jurassic World,” “Godzilla” and the latest Batman trilogy, has grossed more than $11 billion worldwide since it was founded in 2005, mostly with the kind of big-budget blockbusters popular with Chinese audiences.
“It’s a win-win situation… because the China market is really incredibly taking off and Hollywood has a real interest in that,” Stanley Rosen, a political science professor at the University of Southern California, told AFP. It is an arrangement that benefits both sides financially, with movies becoming increasingly expensive to produce but the Chinese hungry for Western-made films.
But China, which has yet to make a global hit, is also buying expertise. “Hollywood has what China lacks, which is storytelling ability, marketing, distribution,” Rosen told AFP. Wanda owner Wang Jianlin, who burst into the international spotlight in 2012 by buying US cinema chain AMC Entertainment for $2.6 billion, says the Legendary deal makes his company the highest revenue-generating movie unit in the world. It also gives future Legendary films direct access to China’s booming market, which has become crucial to foreign filmmakers, with North American ticket sales stagnant.
PricewaterhouseCoopers has projected China’s box office to rise from $4.3 billion in 2014 to $8.9 billion in 2019, meaning it would outstrip the US within two years. ……
…… Cumulative Chinese investment in the US since 2000 reached $63 billion in 2015, with a $4 billion going to the entertainment industry, according to research firm Rhodium Group. The trend looks set to accelerate, with Huayi Brothers planning to produce at least 18 films with LA studio STX Entertainment, and Shanghai-based Fosun International taking a stake in US media company Studio 8. Both Wanda and tech firm Alibaba have been touted as possible minority investors in Paramount, while Hunan TV has signed a $1.5 billion deal to fund Lionsgate movies and Perfect World Pictures is investing $250 million in Universal’s slate over five years.