Legendary, China Film teaming on big-money flicks
FILE - In this undated file image released by Warner Bros., Christian Bale is shown as Batman in a scene from "The Dark Knight" from 2008. Hollywood studio Legendary Entertainment which produced "The Dark Knight" signed an agreement with the state-owned China Film Group on Thursday, May 30, 2013 in Beijing. (AP Photo/Warner Bros., File)
HONG KONG (AP) — Legendary Entertainment, maker of the "The Hangover" franchise, is teaming with state-owned China Film Group to produce more global blockbusters as the Hollywood studio expands into the rapidly growing but tightly controlled Chinese movie market.
Their deal is the latest example of growing collaboration between entertainment companies in the world's two biggest movie markets.
Legendary, which also made "Inception" and "The Dark Knight," said its Chinese venture, Legendary East, signed an agreement with the Chinese company's unit, China Film Co., on Thursday in Beijing. The deal calls for the companies to fund development and production of multiple films over three years.
Their first collaborations will be announced in the coming months. Legendary said each is planned as a U.S.-China co-production. That means they can bypass China's import restrictions that limit the number of foreign movies shown on the country's 12,000 screens to 34 each year.
Producers that can avoid the import quota can earn millions more at the Chinese box office because they are allowed to keep about 40 percent of profits, compared with 25 percent for films classified as foreign.
The companies said they plan to produce movies for global audiences that will be "tentpole-scale" — in other words, the big-budget, highly promoted productions that earn enough box-office revenue to support the whole studio, in the same way that a tentpole holds up a tent.
FILE - In this March 26, 2006 file photo, an actor clad in a Batman costume greets local spectators after the grand opening ceremony of the Warner Bros. Studio Store in Shanghai, China. Hollywood studio Legendary Entertainment which produced "The Dark Knight" from 2008 signed an agreement with the state-owned China Film Group on Thursday, May 30, 2013 in Beijing. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko, File)
No specific details were released.
In a statement, China Film Co. Chairman Han Sanping said it was the company's first ever long-term, multi-picture deal with a local or foreign partner.
"There can be no doubt that this is one of the most important collaborations for China Film Group in the coming years," Han said. The partnership will allow the companies to "make films that are more appealing to filmgoers, creating new genres that, through the magic of film, bring greater variety to audiences around the world," he said.