After Chinese audiences turned out in droves for local Chinese language films in the first half of 2013, one of the country’s most active media tycoons, Bruno Wu, is moving to get in on the action. The Seven Stars Media chairman has launched a new venture, Constellation Film Company, to develop, produce and distribute Chinese language films for the domestic Chinese market.
The launch follows on plans Wu announced to The Hollywood Reporter at Cannes in May. In a wide-ranging discussion of the media investor's various ventures, he then said: "Our next step this year will be to start investing in local Chinese films."
Constellation’s first move, according to the company, is to partner with Chinese producer Liu Yiwei’s company Joyful Film to develop new projects.
Liu was recently involved as a producer in Chinese box office record-breaker Lost in Thailand ($202 million, 2012) and local hit rom-com, Finding Mr. Right.
“The recent box office successes of Chinese language films shows that the marketplace will accept and support local films as long as they satisfy the audience with subjects and characters they can relate to,” Wu stated. “They need to be well made, entertaining, and appeal to the contemporary mindset of the young moviegoer. I couldn’t be more excited to have found such great partners.”
Apart from the new Constellation, Wu and Seven Stars Media also operate the Severn Stars Films banner, which produces and distributes English language films. Wu was an executive producer on American director James Gray’s The Immigrant, starring Joaquin Phoenix, Jeremy Renner and Marion Cotillard, and Nicole Kidman’s Grace of Monaco, both of which will open stateside this year.
Constellation’s partnership with Joyful Films should give it a jumpstart in the Chinese market. The company has ten projects in development, three of which are close to getting greenlit, according to Wu’s team.