AFM: Chinese Entertainment Lawyer Predictions Co-Productions Are Poised for Major Upturn

Illustration by: Lars Leetaru

Industry figures say China and Hollywood have a lot to offer each other

A leading Chinese entertainment industry lawyer believes the world's second biggest film market is poised for a huge increase in the number of co-productions between Hollywood and China.

"There is not a big number of co-productions but the box office revenues are enormous. Co-productions between China and the U.S. is a trend and could be a huge success," Allen Wang, senior partner at Yingke Law Firm in Beijing, told The Hollywood Reporter in an interview at the American Film Market.

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"We need the Hollywood method of storytelling, and we need the talent and we need the directors and also the production technology. For the Chinese we can do the financing and we have the target market for the films. It's a good opportunity," said Wang.

Earlier this week, Miao Xiaotian, the new president of the China Film Co-production Corporation, said China was ready to welcome more co-productions.

Co-productions do not fall under the quota system which restricts the number of foreign movies allowed into China to 34 on a revenue-share basis, and can be much more lucrative for companies as the share is bigger.

However, getting co-production status can be difficult as there needs to be a demonstrably strong Chinese element in the movie.

There was considerable irritation in the film bureau in recent years over projects which tried to get co-production status by adding in Chinese elements to what were clearly western movies, and the authorities cooled on the whole notion of co-pros.

"If Americans want to get more movies into China, then co-productions are a great way. We have accepted more than 80 applications this year, and approved 65 percent of those already, and most of the rest will get approved," Miao told the U.S.-China Film Summit.