Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Working With China

... also known as "riding the big Chinese dragon".

China seems to be one of Washington D.C.'s bete noirs of the moment ("They're robbing us blind!"), but Hollywood is well aware that the Middle Kingdom is now the second largest movie market and will likely soon be #1. Therefore this makes sense:

Jackie Chan and Constance Wu will voice-star in Sony Pictures Animation's Wish Dragon, a contemporary retelling of the classic genie-in-a-bottle tale from One Thousand and One Nights. ...

The feature, which is aiming for a 2019 theatrical release in China, is a Chinese co-production with Chan's Beijing-based Sparkle Roll Media Corporation and Base Animation. A U.S. and international release are also planned. ...

You will note that Sony is going the co-production route, and it isn't with Aardman, but a studio in mainland China. This is a savvy move, and it can't escaped Sony's notice that a hybrid animated epic (Rampage just opened over there, and pulled in $55 million for its opening stanza, about $20 million more than it earned stateside.

American entertainment conglomerates are well aware that they need a reliable pathway into one of the most lucrative movie markets on the planet. They can either do it with a movie star popular in China (Dwayne Johnson) or they can do a Chinese co-production that assures them of a big distribution footprint when the feature is ready to roll out.

The co-production strategy is a viable choice. Sony ain't stupid.

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