China's Bona Film Group Posts Improved Third-Quarter Results

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Bona Film Group CEO Yu Dong

The film producer and distributor, in which 21st Century Fox owns a 19.9 percent stake, is also bullish on its outlook for 2014.

Late Thursday, Chinese film producer and distributor Bona Film Group, in which Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox owns a 19.9 percent stake, reported improved third-quarter financials.

Recently, Chinese investment firm Fosun Group agreed to acquire a 6.4 percent stake in Bona. 

The company reported quarterly earnings of $2.8 million, more than double the $1.3 million recorded in the year-ago period. Revenue rose 42 percent from $24.6 million to $35.0 million.

Bona released three films in the latest quarter. They were action drama Unbeatable, which has become the highest-grossing Chinese-language film in Hong Kong this year, romantic comedy Lucky Star, starring Zhang Ziyi, and Oxide and Danny Pang's Out of Inferno 3D, the first 3D Chinese-language disaster film.

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"Overall, I am very pleased with the results that we delivered in the third quarter," said Bona founder, chairman and CEO Yu Dong. "We distributed three strong films -- Unbeatable, My Lucky Star and Out of Inferno 3D and continued to generate robust top- and bottom-line growth."

Yu was in Los Angeles recently for the 2013 U.S.-China Film Summit, during which he forecast a golden era for the Chinese film industry in the next decade and urged Hollywood talents to come to the world’s second-largest market to take advantage of growing opportunities.

He added: "We have made very good progress in 2013, releasing many quality films, growing our theater network, developing a film investment fund to finance the development and production of Bona films and TV projects over the next two years, and diversifying our ownership structure through a meaningful investment by Fosun Group."

Bona completed postproduction work on The White Storm, formerly known as The Cartel War, a crime thriller featuring Hong Kong stars Sean Lau, Louis Koo and Nick Cheung, which is due for release in mainland China on Nov. 29, 2013.

It also received the go-ahead from the Film Bureau to distribute Red 2, starring Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren, John Malkovich and Anthony Hopkins. The film is scheduled for release in China on Friday (Nov. 15).

Looking ahead to 2014, Yu also commented on Bona's plans.

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"The outlook for 2014 is even better as we have many strong film titles in our distribution and development pipelines, the financial resources to bring more quality films to market and plans to further expand our theater network," he said. "Additionally, we expect our international cooperation initiatives to gain traction, creating further revenue opportunities for us in the future."

Among projects coming up are From Vegas to Macau, starring Chow Yun-Fat, Nicholas Tse and Tian Jing, directed by Wong Jing, which has wrapped and is tentatively scheduled for release around Chinese New Year in early 2014.

Overheard 3, a franchise about Hong Kong's real estate business directed by Alan Mak and Felix Chong and featuring Sean Lau, Louis Koo, Daniel Wu and Zhou Xun, is in postproduction and tentatively scheduled for release in early 2014.

Also due next year is psychological thriller Insanity, produced by Derek Yee, directed by Li Guangyao and starring Sean Lau and Huang Xiaoming.