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Chinese Cinema Chain Operator Inks Partnership Deal With Sony Pictures

A strategic alliance between China’s Dalian Wanda cinema chain operator and Sony Pictures Entertainment Motion Picture Group opens up new horizons for the world’s cinema and television industries, Zhang Fei, a Chinese Ministry of Commerce expert, told Sputnik.

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Rumors about the partnership deal being mulled by Dalian Wanda and Sony Pictures started circulating early this week and were quickly justified after Dalian Wanda chairman Wang Jianlin and Sony Pictures CEO Tom Rothman inked a strategic partnership deal to co-finance big-budget movies.

In keeping with the deal, Wanda will help promote a number of Sony movies in China, including “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” and “Passengers,” and will provide up to 15-percent financing for other films turned out by the Hollywood studios.

With its fast-growing film market and strict quotas of just 34 foreign films allowed for playing each year, China is a much desirable piece of cake for theater owners worldwide and here “Dalian Wanda comes in as a perfect partner,” Zhang Fei said.

“The Chinese film industry has been going through the roof with 2015 box office returns exceeding $44 billion – 48.7 percent more than in 2014. This agreement offers Sony Pictures a major vehicle to market their films in China,” he added.

Dalian Wanda also stands to gain as its partnership with Hollywood will give it a bigger role in the global movie industry.

Wang Jianlin earlier said that he was going to do business with “all Hollywood.” In January, the Chinese conglomerate acquired Legendary Studios for $3.5 billion.

In spring 2016 Wanda-controlled  AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. paid $1.1 billion for the US theater chain Carmike Cinemas and in summer 2016 Wanda shelled out 500 million pounds for Europe’s largest movie theater network Odeon & UCI Cinemas Group.

The box office in China grew an astonishing 48.7 percent in 2015, making it the world's second-largest movie-going market after the US.

Growing at an average 25 percent each year, it is now poised to take the world’s number one spot already next year.

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