France's Wild Bunch and China's Taihe Announce New Joint Venture
PARIS -- European mini-major Wild Bunch and China’s fastest-growing production and distribution group, Taihe Pictures, are joining forces to create a new Beijing-based Chinese sales and distribution company.
Aiming to be the first international sales company to operate from China, the new Taihe Wild Bunch will focus on finding Chinese talent, international sales rights and distribution for Chinese films and combing the Wild Bunch catalog for possible remakes in China.
“We have been willing to increase our involvement with the Chinese movie industry for quite a while now, and we feel like we found the right partner, both to develop our ability to expose Chinese movies abroad and to strengthen our distribution power in China,” said Wild Bunch founder and partner Vincent Maraval. “We look forward to supplementary opportunities with our new partner in this very exciting market.”
France’s mini-major has a longstanding relationship with Chinese market. Maraval produced Lou Ye’s World War II drama Purple Butterfly, starring Zhang Ziyi, in 2005, and Wild Bunch founding partner Brahim Chioua co-produced The Emperor and the Assasin by Chen Kaige in 1998, which was the country’s biggest co-production at the time.
On the sales side, Wild Bunch has made a mark taking Chinese films international over the last decade, starting with Fruit Chan’s Durian Durian in 2000. Currently, it is distributing Wong Kar-wai’s The Grandmaster, due in August, and Wolf Totem, French director Jean-Jacques Annaud’s Chinese language co-production.
“The core of the Chinese film industry has limited contact with the international market, and that is what we intend to address,” said Taihe Pictures general manager Chuck Zhang. “We will seek to use international partners and to apply financially sound criteria to create a boutique catalog.”
The management team has yet to be announced.