Hollywood welcomes more film co-productions with China

Updated 2017-03-31 10:01:10 Xinhua

“Film co-productions can help foster greater cultural exchange and understanding between two different countries, such as China and the United States,” Hollywoord film director Julia Pierrepont III said at her home in Sunland, Los Angeles.

Also a producer and writer, the Hollywood veteran impressed Xinhua reporters with homemade desserts and a garden full of beautiful flowers as well as her interests in U.S.-China co-productions.

“Hollywood has a long history of welcoming investment from many sources, including foreign ones. China is no exception and will be welcomed in Hollywood,” said Pierrepont, known for films “Lost in the Pershing Point Hotel” and “Ghosts Never Sleep.”

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Having been doing business in China for more than five years and developed excellent relationship with many Chinese producers and investors, Pierrepont has two co-productions with Chinese filmmakers in pre-production.

One of the films is “Defenders of the Gao,” an exciting superhero action movie in which ancient Chinese Shaolin warrior monks team up with modern day American and Chinese videogame champions to defeat a dreaded demon intend on destroying mankind. The film will be shooting at Wanda Studios in Qingdao and to be chosen by China Film Co-Production Corporation at the Beijing Film Festival as an appropriate U.S.-China co-production.

Another is “Orson's Final Cut,” a low budget thriller about a Chinese actress doing her first Hollywood movie on location in Mexico during the Day of the Dead Festival who unwittingly unleashes an angry Aztec Demon who pretends to be the famous Orson Welles.

Pierrepont is not alone in her journey to China which has the world's second-largest box office next to the North America and is on track to be the world's biggest box office market by the end of 2017. Co-production has been one of the hottest topics among Chinese and American filmmakers for years. There are Chinese films related award ceremonies, panel discussions, cocktail parties all year around in Hollywood, organized and supported by different groups and people.

Taking the annual Chinese American Film Festival as an example, it is organized by the Los Angeles-based media firm, EDI media, and supported by China Film Bureau, MPA and PGA. After 12 years of devotion, it has become one of the most important film events between the two largest box offices in the world. Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez commented that “the movie we watched only showed China in Americans' eyes, but Chinese American Film Festival showed us a whole new China in Chinese perspective.”

Ten or fifteen years ago, it was very hard to have A-list Hollywood filmmakers gathering around for a Chinese event, even though the venue was only a few minutes away from their offices. But in 2016, all of the major Hollywood studios sent their executives to Ricardo Montalban Theater, to receive awards from Chinese American Film Festival. As Jack Ledwith, SVP of International Distribution at Universal Pictures said on the stage, “China is very important to us.”

Hollywood studios have turned to the country as a rare growth area for their prospective blockbusters. By far China is the biggest single export market for U.S films, while some films have received even better revenues in China than at home.

The Oscars-nominated war film “Hacksaw Ridge” grossed 16 million U.S. dollars on its debut and a total of 70-million-dollars box office in China.

“I had never expected such a huge success in China,” said Bill Mechanic, producer of the movie and another Hollywood veteran, who is also looking for opportunities to co-produce movies with China.

The success of “Hacksaw Ridge” in China's box office is just one of the latest emblems of how Chinese market is changing the map of film industry and the mind of Hollywood.

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