Lionsgate, China's Hunan TV Negotiate $1.5 Billion Film Production Pact

The advanced discussions include combined investment in film production and distribution.

Lionsgate is making further inroads into China by being in advanced discussions with Hunan TV & Broadcast Intermediary Co. to invest a combined $1.5 billion in movie making over the next three years.

Reuters first reported on the talks with The Hunger Games producer and its Chinese partner, which came via a statement issued Wednesday by Hunan TV on the Shenzhen stock exchange.

The possible agreement, which also gets Hunan TV into the U.S. market through Lionsgate, includes film production and distribution.

Lionsgate last year partnered with Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba to launch a streaming service in China to distribute titles like Divergent and The Twilight Saga: Eclipse and TV shows such as Mad Men, Weeds and The Royals.

That deal was followed by reports that Mark Rachesky, whose 37.4 percent stake in Lionsgate in 2011 denied Carl Icahn a win in his proxy fight, was looking to sell his investment in the indie studio to Alibaba, which is led by chairman Jack Ma.

Hollywood's interest in China only grew when Michael Bay's robot tentpole Transformers: Age of Extinction did around $320 million worth of box office, a new record for a film in that market.

Jan. 28, 12:50 p.m. Updated to clarify the stage of current talks between Lionsgate and Hunan TV on a possible deal.

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