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China Film Group has co-produced directorial debut of Keanu Reeves, "Man of Tai Chi." [Photo: mtime.com]One of China's top film executives is quietly making the rounds for meetings at Hollywood studios this week.
Han Sanping, chairman of the powerful China Film Group Corporation, arrived in Los Angeles on Sunday with a delegation from the country, according to sources familiar with his activities. He was accompanied by principals from DMG, a Chinese-American media company run by Dan Mintz that is heavily involved in co-productions and distribution in China.
China Film Group is the largest state-run film company in China and the only importer of foreign films, which makes Sanping a key ally for Hollywood. While Sanping's meetings are very hush-hush, they are said to be with most of the major studios, as well as certain directors and actors and post-production houses. A source says the delegation is meeting or has met with brass at Disney, Sony and Universal. Those studios, as well as Warner Bros. and Paramount, declined to comment.
One talent name that has surfaced is Bruce Willis, who stars in the upcoming Chinese-Hollywood co-production Looper, which was shot in Beijing and is co-produced by Mintz's DMG. Insiders speculate that Willis may be meeting with the Chinese delegation to discuss filming one of his upcoming movies in the country. Willis' next two projects are Fox's A Good Day to Die Hard and a sequel to Red, both of which have international components to them.
This week's meetings come on the heels of last month's blockbuster announcement that China will allow more U.S. films to be shown on Chinese screens. This is considered a major breakthrough since the increase – which raises the 20 films-per-year quota by 14 – applies to "enhanced" movies such as IMAX or 3D releases. Currently, China's massive filmgoing population can't get enough of American tentpoles, especially 3D titles. Five of the top-grossing movies in China last year were Hollywood 3D releases, including Transformers: Dark of the Moon, which took in $172 million in China. More recently, Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol just crossed the $100 million mark.
Also in February, DreamWorks Animation announced it was teaming up with two state-owned Chinese media companies, Shanghai Media Group and China Media Capital, to create a studio dedicated to making film, TV and stage productions for the Chinese market.
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