China's LeVision Sets Up U.S. Unit With $200 Million War Chest

Zhang Zhao

Five employees in L.A. right now but expected to grow

China's LeVision Pictures will coordinate its assault on the U.S. market with an office in L.A. and will kick off its Hollywood campaign with a $200 million film fund to make blockbusters.

The company has five employees right now and its formal title is LeVision Pictures USA, a spokesperson for the company said.

LeVision is the film-production wing of Leshi Internet Information and Technology Corp., known as LeTV, and it ranked third in overall box office in China last year, and boasts Zhang Yimou, arguably China’s most high-profile filmmaker, as its artistic director.

LeVision's parent company is LeTV, which produced The Expendables 3, the recent Zhang Yimou movie, Going Home, has a stake in the Tiny Times franchise and is heavily involved in John Woo’s forthcoming epic The Crossing.

LeTV's CEO Jia Yueting flagged the foundation of the U.S. presence back in August on a visit to Hollywood.

In August LeTV announced it was building up a $731.6 million fund to bankroll expansion, and it is understood that LeVision chief Zhang Zhao will call on that to fund the expansion.

It's the latest foray into Hollywood by a Chinese company. In August, real estate giant and AMC owner Wanda Group announced that it would spend $1.2 billion to develop its Hollywood presence after it won a bid for a plot of land at 9900 Wilshire Boulevard, Beverly Hills, for the HQ of its U.S. entertainment business.

The investment group Fosun has partnered with former Warner Bros. chief Jeff Robinov in Studio 8, while last month the private production company Huayi Brothers Media Co. said it was setting up a $130 million subsidiary in the United States to invest in the distribution and production of movies and TV shows.

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