China Set to Award Landmark Second Theatrical Distribution License

7:10 PM PST 03/23/2014 by Clifford Coonan

The license will be issued to state-backed China National Culture & Art Corporation this week, breaking China Film Group's hold on distributing imported movies.

The Chinese government is set to announce a second theatrical distribution license, breaking China Film’s monopoly on distributing revenue-sharing movies in the world’s second-biggest film market.

The license will be awarded to the state-backed China National Culture & Art Corporation, which is linked to the Ministry of Culture, and senior government officials from the Ministry of Propaganda are expected in Hong Kong to announce the deal on Thursday.

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China raised the number of foreign films that can be imported on a revenue-sharing basis to 34 in 2012, and sources recently said that there are plans afoot to raise the quota number again.

As it stands, the China Film Group and Huaxia Film Distribution are the only two companies allowed to handle theatrical distribution of foreign movies in China on a revenue-sharing basis.

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It’s not clear whether the new license will see more films imported from overseas, or if the quota will be divided between CFG and CNCAC.

Han Sanping recently retired as head of CFGC and was replaced by Li Peikang and Jiao Hongfen. CNCAC currently imports and distributes plays, music and dance performances.

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