Shanghai Film Festival: China's Bona Film Group Announces 26-Film Slate Over Next Few Years

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CEO Yu Dong made the surprise revelation just days after an offer to take the company private.

China's Bona Film Group CEO Yu Dong made a surprise announcement that the company is to produce 26 films over the next "18 months" with the aim of achieving $1.61 billion (10 billion RMB) in box office. 

At a forum at the Shanghai International Film Festival, Yu said that in order to compete with Hollywood, Bona would up its slate of productions. Yu also said this announcement wasn't just a hoped-for strategy or an intention to purchase properties to adapt. Instead, he said, Bona had stories, casts and directors in place and he would announce more details later on Sunday at SIFF. 

Addressing the news that Bona would look to delist from the Nasdaq and be taken private, Yu said the move wasn't really a surprise, despite the media reaction, and was a decision that had been "brewing for quite a long time." Yu intimated the decision to delist was linked to focus more on creating content for the likes of China's Internet giants Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent (collectively known as the BAT).

Yu said he had been keenly watching the developments in the Chinese film industry over the past year, in particular the way the BAT had come into the industry. "This movement is transformative and revolutionary," Yu said, adding that the entire film industry had been "upgraded."  

Yu added that the move wasn't just to increase funding but linked to a desire to return to China. Yu added that the request to Nasdaq was only the first step and the process had a long way to go. He said Bona's partners and investors expressed a wish to "come back home" to China. 

Bona went public in late 2010, with its U.S. listing on Nasdaq. 21st Century Fox and News Corp before its split used to own a 19.9 percent stake in Bona. China's Fosun first bought a stake in 2013. Private equity company Sequoia is an investor in Bona and a film-funding partner for the company.

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