Nearly all of China's top distributors, producers and execs are attending the 2013 American Film Market as the world's second biggest, and fastest rising, movie industry flexes its newfound muscle.
The line-up includes the country's biggest state-owned player, China Film Group, as well as its increasingly influential private production companies and distributors, such as Enlight Media, Bona, Huayi Brothers and Beijing Galloping Horse Film.
The stellar roll call was announced by Jonathan Wolf, managing director of the American Film Market and executive vp of the Independent Film and Television Alliance.
Also sending a large delegation is Wanda Film, which recently brought Leonardo DiCaprio, John Travolta, Nicole Kidman and other luminaries to the coastal town of Qingdao to launch an $8 billion studio project.
Last year, Wanda bought AMC for $2.6 billion, and in early September it donated $20 million to the Motion Picture Academy's new museum.
China's box office take was $2.7 billion in the first nine months of this year, a surging 35 percent rise on the same three quarters last year, and Hollywood is eager to find ways to unlock this burgeoning market, which some analysts expect to overtake the U.S. sometime in the next five years.
It's not all one-way traffic. China is looking to Hollywood for investment vehicles, and many industry-watchers are just waiting for the day when a Chinese firm moves to buy a U.S. studio.
"This year we are pushing more films with international casts like Control, a suspense-thriller set in the near future, while also developing our native franchises like Young Detective Dee, a 3D martial arts mystery set in ancient China," said Huayi Brothers spokesman Charles Hwong. "We hope to broaden the appeal of our films and raise the Chinese film industry to new standards."
The annual U.S.-China Film Summit at the Millennium Biltmore, which opens the day before AFM, will also have a higher profile than ever before with a record number of attendees signed up for the event.