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China Briefs: Beijing Forum To Address Sino-U.S. Film Cooperation; Local Producers Eye ‘Avatar’ Rival

China Briefs: Beijing Forum To Address Sino-U.S. Film Cooperation; Local Producers Eye ‘Avatar’ RivalA forum to be held this week in Beijing will address critical issues facing the Chinese film industry, especially as they regard cooperation with the U.S. The state-backed China Film Association has created the International Communication Committee of CFA in an effort to educate and engage the global film community, particularly Hollywood, in how to partner with China’s film entities to access the market. As Hollywood increasingly seek to establish ties to China, some thorny issues have crept up. Recently, Transformers: Age Of Extinction has faced criticism from sponsors over their portrayal, while the Chinese are understood to be concerned about foreign press coverage of reported extortion attempts on the set in Hong Kong last year. I hear folks expected to attend the forum include top execs from SAPPRFT, China Film Group, Huaxia Films, the CFA and DMG. Also expected to attend panels and presentations are former Skydance COO Paul Schwake and screenwriter Evan Daugherty (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Divergent).

Image (2) AVATAR__140529163007-275x171.jpg for post 737462With Avatar the 2nd highest-grossing film in Chinese history, local producers are looking to cash in with their own rival take. The state-backed Xinhua news agency reports that Beijing Chinese Century Media Company is prepping 3D fantasy film Bainiaoyi to shoot in May 2015 in Hengxian County for release at the end of 2016. The tale based on Zhuang folklore follows a young … Read More »

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Cannes: Joel Silver-Produced ‘Autobahn’ Gears Up With Nicholas Hoult, Felicity Jones, Anthony Hopkins, Ben Kingsley

silver picturesSilver Pictures‘ action thriller Autobahn is revving up for a production start May 5. IM Global is backing the picture with additional financing from Sycamore Pictures and Beijing-based DMG Entertainment. im globalPenned by Black List writer F. Scott Frazier (The Numbers Station), the project already had folks buzzing in whispers in Berlin earlier this year and is likely to stir up further interest in Cannes now that all the pieces are in place. Eran Creevy (Welcome To The Punch) is directing Nicholas Hoult, Felicity Jones, Anthony Hopkins and Ben Kingsley in the story about a young American couple plunged into a game of cat-and-mouse across Germany when they find themselves caught between two ruthless criminals.

Jack The Giant Slayer - PhotocallJoel Silver will produce through his Silver Pictures banner, along with Ben Pugh and Rory Aitken of UK-based 42 and Brian Kavanaugh Jones of Automatik (Insidious). Silver Pictures’ Steve Richards and Aaron Auch are executive producing, along with IM Global CEO Stuart Ford and Matt Jackson. Also exec producing are DMG’s Dan Mintz, Wu Bing, Peter Xiao, Chris Fenton and Chris Cowles and Sycamore’s Tom Rice and Ben Nearn . Hoult and Creevy are repped by 42. Read More »

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The Way Of The Future? Johnny Depp & ‘Transcendence’ In China Primetime: Video

TRANSCENDENCEThe primetime special built around Johnny Depp‘s two-day China promotional tour for Transcendence aired locally Thursday night on ZheJiangTV, a national network that reaches about 1.2 billion people. With an average nightly audience of about 200 million, it would be fair to say that a lot more Chinese are familiar with Wally Pfister’s directorial debut than they may have been otherwise. The event is part of a growing belief that marketing directly to China pays off. It was reminiscent of last year’s Iron Man 3 gala that put Robert Downey Jr front and center and was also organized by DMG Entertainment. That worked out well for Iron Man 3, and a similar effect is hoped for here.

Related: Johnny Depp Rocks Beijing In Support Of ‘Transcendence’: Photos

The Transcendence special was meant to be entertaining, but also had a very targeted agenda. I’m told much of the content was geared towards the audience better understanding what the film is about, and the science and technology behind it. The live audience at the events taped in late March saw Depp learn some Mandarin, share the stage with Chinese actors like Wu Xiu Bo and Wu Bing, and jam with with rocker David Tao. Singaporean pop star JJ Lin also performed a tribute to Depp singing a song from Sweeney Todd. Such efforts, it’s said, allow … Read More »

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Johnny Depp Rocks Beijing In Support Of ‘Transcendence’: Photos

Johnny Depp China Concert TranscendenceJohnny Depp started his Chinese promotional tour for Transcendence in Beijing tonight, playing guitar for about 1,000 invited guests and fans. The event was held at the 798 art zone inside a decomissioned factory that was built during the period of military-industrial cooperation between the Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China. Depp is in Beijing to boost the profile of Wally Pfister’s directorial debut, which opens day-and-date with the U.S. on April 18. Warner Bros is releasing Stateside. Hollywood stars are increasingly traveling to China to promote their films in the world’s second largest box office market. This two-day tour is hosted by DMG Entertainment which produced Transcendence with Alcon Entertainment and Straight Up Films. Last year, DMG pulled off a similar one-of-a-kind event in support of Iron Man 3, bringing Robert Downey Jr to town for a gala inside the Forbidden City. That show looked a little more formal, while tonight’s was more rock-and-roll, with a massive fan base coming out to see Depp. Joining him onstage was Taiwanese R&B/hard rock artist David Tao, a big local star. Depp jammed on guitar while Tao sang a tune made famous in the early 1990s by Cui Jian, aka “The Father of Chinese Rock”. Here’s an exclusive snap of the duo:

Johnny Depp David Tao China Concert

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‘Transcendence’ Scores China Day-And-Date Release; Will Open With U.S. On April 18

transcendence posterWally Pfister‘s directorial debut Transcendence will open on April 18 in China, a coveted day-and-date release with the U.S. Warner Bros is distributing in the States. The Johnny Depp sci-fi action drama will be exclusively released in China in 3D and IMAX 3D, a growing trend that recently saw Robocop converted to the format solely for the massive market. Trenscendence will also have a 2D release locally. Day-and-Date is a big deal in China where piracy is rampant; Disney’s Need For Speed opened simultaneously with the U.S. two weeks ago and outperformed the domestic haul in its first weekend. China is now the movie’s biggest market worldwide. Transcendence is the first product of a partnership between Alcon Entertainment and Beijing-based DMG Entertainment to finance, produce, and distribute films (LA-based Straight Up Films is also a producer). DMG has some experience here, having secured a pre-day-and-date release last year for Iron Man 3 — it went out May 1 in China and May 3 in the U.S. and went on to be the No. 2 movie in China for the year with about $125M in box office. The China Transcendence release will follow Depp’s big promotional swing through China beginning March 31 and replete with a series of primetime TV specials to be shown nationwide in the lead up … Read More »

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DMG, Washington State Team On Chinese TV Drama To Shoot In Seattle

By | Thursday November 14, 2013 @ 1:28am PST

With Hollywood increasingly headed to China, here’s a twist: A Chinese TV series is about to set up shop in the Pacific Northwest. DMG Entertainment, the company that partnered with Marvel on Iron Man 3 in China, will team with Washington FilmWorks to develop, produce and shoot a Chinese-language TV drama in Seattle. The series is eyeing an early 2014 production start. It’s untitled for the moment, but will follow the lives and loves of a group of Chinese nationals as they deal with modern American life. China’s leading broadcaster CCTV will air the show. DMG chief Dan Mintz noted that “The Seattle area boasts a highly diverse cultural make-up and that includes a lot of Chinese and Asian communities, which makes it a perfect place to set the show.” Washington governor Jay Inslee added, “China represents a major trading partner for a wide range of Washington State industries; the agreements signed today with Chinese film and technology companies, like DMG, will be the foundation of our shared economic success.” Washington FilmWorks is a non-profit that manages the Washington state film incentive programs.

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DMG, Alcon Team On ‘Point Break’ And ‘Transcendence’ As Part Of Multi-Picture Deal

DMG Entertainment, the Beijing-based company that teamed with Disney/Marvel on Iron Man 3, is partnering with Alcon Entertainment to finance, produce, and distribute a series of films beginning with Johnny Depp-starrer Transcendence. The sci-fi pic that marks Wally Pfister’s directorial debut began shooting last month and has set an April 2014 release. Morgan Freeman, Paul Bettany, Rebecca Hall and Kate Mara also star. DMG and Alcon will also pair on the Ericson Core-helmed remake of Kathryn Bigelow’s 1991 surfing/crime thriller Point Break. Shooting starts at the end of 2013 with the action transferred to the world of international extreme sports. Under the partnership, DMG will distribute both pictures in China. Warner Bros. has North America.

The Transcendence team has done a solid job keeping a tight lid on the plot of Jack Paglen’s script, but DMG provided some details today in Beijing. The story is set in the world of artificial intelligence science and, according to CEO Dan Mintz, “is about that moment when human consciousness and the insanely fast rise of computing power collide.”

Mintz also said, “We are very excited that these will be the first two films of what will be a long-lasting and very successful partnership with Alcon. We look forward to making history with our new partner.” Read More »

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Hot TV Spot: ‘Iron Man 3′ In China

By | Thursday April 18, 2013 @ 2:49pm PDT

You don’t have to know the language to figure out Disney, Marvel and China-based producer-distributor DMG Entertainment have pulled out all the stops to promote Iron Man 3 in China ahead of its expected May 3 bow there day-and-date with its U.S. premiere. The movie partially filmed in China and features Chinese stars Wang Xueqi and Fan Bing Bing. The massive PR push includes this commercial for a 90-minute program showcasing the film that will air nationally Saturday night and repeat elsewhere until the movie’s debut. Even 30-second spots are hard to get clearance for in China, so this special touting a Western movie — shot during a gala in the Forbidden City with Robert Downey Jr among others a couple of weeks ago — is notable. Also notable: officials from the government-run State Administration of Radio Film & Television were in the audience beaming over the collaboration, we’re told. That bodes well for future U.S.-China tie-ups, including the recently announced agreement that will see Transformers 4 shoot there among other things. Here’s the Iron Man 3 commercial:

Related:
Want ‘Iron Man 3′ Spoilers? Go To The Grocery Store
Robert Downey Jr Knows How Important China Is: Video

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