It’s a small deal — just a 3.3% investment in Thomas Tull’s Legendary Pictures by Hong Kong’s Orange Sky Golden Harvest Entertainment, one of the leading production, exhibition, and distribution companies in China. Behind the scenes, I’ve learned that “The Two Skips” made the deal. That’s because Skip Paul who advises Centerview Partners (and used to be on Lew Wasserman’s MCA management team) repped the Chinese while Hollywood superlawyer Skip Brittenham advised Tull and Legendary. As you know, the private equity financier behind movies like The Dark Knight, 300, and Watchmen does a lot of co-financing with Warner Bros. This is the first offshore deal done by Tull. Here’s the statement:

September 26, 2010 — Legendary Pictures, the production company founded in 2004 by Thomas Tull, has agreed to a strategic investment from a wholly-owned subsidiary of Orange Sky Golden Harvest Entertainment (Holdings) Limited, a leading film production, distribution, and exhibition company based in Hong Kong. The investment amounts to 3.3% of Legendary’s common equity. The transaction is part of an effort to explore broader partnership opportunities in China and beyond, and was made public today in an announcement by Orange Sky Golden Harvest Entertainment in compliance with Hong Kong Stock Exchange Listing Rules in Hong Kong.

This transaction further allows Tull to steer Legendary’s mandate to diversify its content production and distribution strategies beyond filmed entertainment to other mediums not excluding digital, television and video games.

Founded in 2004, Legendary Pictures owns, produces and delivers some of the world’s most popular intellectual property, focusing on franchises targeted at mainstream audiences but with a special emphasis on the powerful fandom demographic. With partner Warner Bros., Legendary Pictures’ productions include the recently released, critically acclaimed Inception, which has been a box office smash grossing more than $750 million worldwide, as well as global blockbuster Clash of the Titans ($491 million worldwide), The Dark Knight ($1 billion worldwide), 300 ($456 million worldwide) and The Hangover ($467 million worldwide). The company has established itself as a trusted brand which consistently delivers high-quality, commercial entertainment, and through complete or joint ownership, Legendary is building a library of marquee media properties. Among the projects that Legendary is currently developing is an adaptation of the phenomenally successful interactive game universe Warcraft, to be directed by Sam Raimi (Spiderman); Godzilla, based on Toho Company’s famed character; Warren Ellis’ Gravel; and Mass Effect, based on Electronic Arts and BioWare’s hit videogame franchise.

Orange Sky Golden Harvest Entertainment (Holdings) Limited (HKSE: 1132), previously known as Golden Harvest, has produced and financed over 600 movies since inception in 1970 and best known for Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan films. The company primarily engages in film production, financing, distribution and exhibition. As of June 2010, the Group operates 29 multiplexes with collectively 229 screens across Mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore and is a leading distributor in its operating territories.

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