Lionsgate Unveils Film Financing Deal With China's Hunan TV

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The studio will partner with Hunan for a multiyear slate co-financing deal covering qualifying Lionsgate feature films.

Lionsgate has unveiled a wide-ranging three-year deal with China's Hunan TV & Broadcast Intermediary to co-finance all qualifying Lionsgate feature films annually for the next three years.

The Hollywood Reporter previously reported that the deal will include $375 million in film financing.

Under the terms of the deal, Hunan’s wholly owned TIK Films subsidiaries will co-finance all qualifying Lionsgate feature films annually for the next three years, including films such as Gods of Egypt, Now You See Me 2, The Last Witch Hunter, starring Vin Diesel, Sicario and Age of Adaline, starring Blake Lively and Harrison Ford

Lionsgate is collaborating with Hunan CATV Network Group Co., a subsidiary company of Hunan TV & Broadcast, which reaches over 15 million subscribers.

Lionsgate said it was cooperating with major shareholder Hunan TV, the second-most-watched broadcaster in China, to explore opportunities for Hunan series outside China.

"This partnership recognizes the importance that China has assumed within our global business," said Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer.

"We have much to learn from our partners in Hunan and TIK. Our alliance creates a broad spectrum of opportunities for both of our companies as we seek to expand worldwide. Now we have an opportunity to take our partnership to the next level," Feltheimer said.

"This agreement reflects our strategy of teaming with entrepreneurial partners to expand our global operations in key markets while underscoring our commitment to a business model that mitigates risk," he said.

The investment includes cooperation between Hunan and Lionsgate for Chinese co-productions and distribution of Hunan's Chinese language films outside the U.S. market.

Lionsgate, TIK and Leomus are also planning several feature film co-development and co-production projects in China. TIK and Leomus also have the option to distribute up to four of the co-financed films each year in China.

"We look forward to joining hands in creating a feature film pipeline filled with some of the most commercially exciting movies in the world as well as exploring other strategic opportunities throughout our complementary film and television businesses," said Hunan TV chairman Qiu Yunlong.

The partnership will also extend into co-production and theme park entertainment.

The Asian investment is expected to account for 25 percent of the film production costs incurred by the mini-studio in the next three years, with total budgets to run to $1.5 billion.

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 like Mad Men, Weeds and The Royals.

Financing for the deal was provided by East West Bank and Bank of China.

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