Chinese Entrepreneurs Set Up Movie, TV Company

FromMovie Entertainment has an initial three-film slate and hopes to make a Chinese version of 'The Social Network.'

A trio of Chinese venture capitalists has set up movie and TV company FromMovie Entertainment with an initial three-film slate and a green CEO with a joint business administration and film degree from the University of Southern California.

Financed by Board Chairman Xu Xiaoping, who previously backed successful independent film company Infotainment China, FromMovie's board also includes CEO Donny Liang, formerly a junior executive at advertising and film company DMG, Chen Keyi, founding partner of private equity group China Renaissance K2 and Xu Liang, chief financial officer of Bona International Film Group, one of the biggest private film companies in China's booming film landscape.

Xu, who co-founded New Oriental Education, a NYSE-listed test-prep company, got behind Beijing-based FromMovie because of the growth in China's movie market, where box office is up more than 80% this year and companies such as Huayi Brothers Media and Orange Sky Golden Harvest have reaped rewards in the markets in Shenzhen and Hong Kong, respectively.

"The recent success of Chinese entertainment companies gaining great profit in the stock market has further proved my optimistic view in the area. I am sure that FromMovie will soon follow the examples of these companies and become one of the most profitable companies in my portfolio," Xu said.

Starting with a $3 million film adaptation of Chinese bestseller Founder, a book by Wang Qiang that FromMovie CEO Liang said sold 500,000 copies in China. FromMovie hopes to make the film version a Chinese version of The Social Network, Liang said.

Next up, FromMovie will invest in and seeks a Hollywood co-producer for a 3D animated film called Dim Sum Warrior by Singaporean duo Yen Yen Woo and Colin Goh (Singapore Dreaming). One possible co-production partner for the movie now in pre-production, is the revived Imagi Animation Studios, the Hong Kong-based producer of the 2007 U.S. box office hit TMNT, a company revived this spring by banker Francis Leung after its collapse in the financial downturn of 2008.

"I took Dim Sum Warrior's creators around the country and identified that Imagi is still the best in the Great China area," Liang told The Hollywood Reporter.

The third film in FromMovie's first slate is an adaptation of the popular Chinese Internet novel Marriage-Home, about a young Chinese couple's struggle to buy a home in Beijing's soaring housing market.

"The copyright fee [for Marriage-Home] could be a new record in the Biz," said Liang, adding: "We will make a movie and a TV show together. It's the hottest topic in China now."

Besides film investment and production, FromMovie hopes to engage in international sales and acquisition and international co-production, film merchandising and licensing and film related theme park development. FromMovie even recently developed a perfume brand for director Zhang Yimou's popular romantic drama Under the Hawthorn Tree.

CEO Liang, who worked around Hollywood in novice roles during and after his days at USC, said, "The rise of China's film industry can bring in more win-win opportunities for China, Hollywood and beyond."

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