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China's Bona Film Group in Talks With Hollywood Studios About Co-Productions

LONDON - Chinese film producer and distributor Bona Film Group is talking to four Hollywood studios about potentially co-producing movies for international distribution, the Wall Street Journal reported.

"We hope to work with the larger studio houses...and we're having discussions with several,"   the paper quoted Bona CEO Dong Yu as saying. "We hope to do two movies per year through co-productions."

He specifically mentioned NBCUniversal's Universal Pictures, Sony Pictures, Viacom's Paramount Pictures and News Corp.'s Twentieth Century Fox, adding that he was "hopeful" the first co-production could start in 2013.

Last month, Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. unveiled a deal to take a roughly 20 percent stake in Bona. The partners said back then that the investment didn't include any production portion.

To-date, Chinese-U.S. co-productions have generally been made on a one-off basis, but Hollywood studios have recently looked for new opportunities in China, including Walt Disney, which earlier this year partnered with China's DMG Entertainment to co-produce the next Iron Man movie in China.

Bona, which had its IPO on Nasdaq on late 2010, distributes films, invests and produces movies, owns and operates movie theaters and manages Chinese artists.

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com

Twitter: @georgszalai