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Adam Goodman has been named president of Le Vision Entertainment as Zhang Zhao, vice chairman of LeEco, the Chinese digital giant, looks to produce English-language film, TV, VR and digital content for the worldwide market.
LeEco announced Wednesday that it has acquired Dichotomy Creative Group, the production company that Goodman founded last year after leaving Paramount, where he served as president of the motion picture group. Goodman, who will report to Zhang, will be charged with producing a slate of big-budget tentpoles as well as micro-budgeted movies as he did at Paramount where he was involved in both large-scale movies like the Transformers and Mission: Impossible franchises along with low-budget breakouts like the Paranormal Activity series. And he’ll also develop TV and digital projects.
Le Vision Entertainment — or LeVE, as it will be known in short — plans to both fully finance some films and co-produce others and also expects to strike partnerships with Hollywood studios on distribution, slate-financing and co-financing deals.
Zhang also oversees Le Vision Pictures, a subsidiary of LeEco that is China’s third-largest film studio and that has produced Tiny Times, the biggest-grossing film franchise in China; has invested in the Expendables franchise; and is currently co-producing Zhang Yimou’s upcoming The Great Wall, starring Matt Damon, with Legendary East and Universal.
“Both of us are really thinking about how to do something different,” Zhang said of his decision to partner with Goodman. “The more successful you are in China, the more you are thinking that the Chinese film industry needs a lot of help from here,” he said Tuesday during a visit to Los Angeles. At the same time, he added, he has found American studios’ approach to China “frustrating. How do you connect American movie brands to Chinese audiences? That’s more important than just making some box-office back in China. Don’t take China as a territory. Take it as a whole market. We want to do something different to bring our industries together.”
Goodman elaborated: “A lot of times we’ve heard people talk about how China is becoming the wallet and Hollywood is becoming the factory. That’s not what this is. This business is a cultural partnership that is being created here. We’re not launching a company that is funded by a Chinese business, but a Chinese movie studio in Los Angeles.”
LeEco, which began in 2004 as an online video service, is one of the largest online services in China and now also is involved in everything from TVs to smartphones to electric cars.
According to Goodman, “The company that we are creating here is founded with a technology background and an internet background. We’re coming at the business from a very different perspective than the studio system, which has one single channel for delivery. The business here is calcified just because we all respect the institution.”
While the two said LeVE’s first goal will be to make movies that can reach the largest global audience theatrically, they also are looking to take advantage of other platforms.
Zhang declined to put a number on the size of the investment he’ll be making in the new U.S. operation or to set a goal for the number of films and TV shows they hope to turn out annually. But, he and Goodman emphasized, they’re entirely open to different types of content — the films won’t necessarily contain a Chinese component. “We are very much aiming for good movies for global audiences, they don’t have to be China-related,” Zhang said. “A movie is a movie. But our Chinese marketing ability will be the backbone to support the movies we’re making.”
Goodman promised: “We’ll be able to put a fairly robust program together.” And Zhang added that because he is invested in long-term brand building in China, “we can really change the landscape of global filming.”
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