Cannes: China's Wanda to Distribute 'The Ghouls' in AMC Theaters in U.S.

Wang Jianlin Dalian Wanda Chairman H

As the company looks at promoting its films overseas, the tomb-raiding movie will act as a flagship.

Chinese real estate and entertainment giant Wanda underlined its global ambitions in Cannes on Thursday, unveiling plans to distribute its big-budget production The Ghouls in the U.S. in cinemas of exhibitor AMC Entertainment, which it acquired in 2012.

The conglomerate's Wanda Pictures unit will leverage the AMC theater chain to distribute the VFX-heavy movie internationally, with an added push from IM Global.

Directed by one of China's hottest directors, Wu'ershan, and a big-name cast that includes Shu Qi, Chen Kun, Huang Bo, Angelababy and Xia Yu, The Ghouls is based on a series of online fantasy adventure novels written by Zhang Muye, which have sold 9 million copies.

While the tomb raider movie's success in China is assured, Wanda, owned by China's richest man Wang Jianlin, hopes that it can use its ownership of the second-biggest U.S. theater chain to make the movie a success internationally.

"You've seen the trailer – it's got a great cast. You are attracted by the movie, and I think it will be very successful overseas," said Jerry Ye, vice president of Wanda Culture Industry Group.

"We will of course promote this overseas. Our international sales partner is IM Global, and we also have the full support of AMC now," Ye told THR at the Cannes film festival.

The group is also looking at expanding its cinema network by buying other theater chains, Ye said without giving any specifics.

Wanda has already sold The Ghouls in Taiwan (CMC), Philippines (MVP), Singapore (Shaw), Indonesia (Cinemaxx), Vietnam (BHD) and Thailand (International Production Associates).

The Ghouls made the quota to be released in Taiwan this year -- only 10 mainland Chinese films are allowed to get released in Taiwan, and Wanda is handling U.S. sales itself directly at Cannes.