Bona Film Group and Huayi Brothers to acquire strategic stakes in US distributor China Lion

31 October 2011 23 h 44 min 18 comments

LOS ANGELES, Oct 31, 2011 – Bona Film Group Limited, a leading film distributor in China, announced that the Company and Huayi Brothers Media Corporation will acquire strategic stakes in one-year-old China Lion Film Distribution. The formal announcement was made at a gala celebration in Los Angeles on October 30.

Yu Dong, chairman and CEO of Bona, Zhonglei (James) Wang, president of Huayi, Jiang Yanming, president of China Lion, Milt Barlow, CEO of China Lion, Greg Coote, newly appointed chairman of China Lion, and Gang Tong, director of China’s Film Bureau of the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (“SARFT”), attended the event.

Headquartered in Los Angeles, with offices in Toronto, Sydney, Beijing and Auckland, China Lion was the first distributor to conduct a U.S. day-and-date release of a major Chinese theatrical feature as part of its exclusive arrangement with leading cinema chain AMC Entertainment, Inc.

In the past year, China Lion has released 12 films, including the Chinese blockbusters “Aftershock”, “If You Are the One 2″, “What Women Want”, and “The Beginning of the Great Revival”. It also joined forces with Fox International Productions in handling the release of the co-productions “The Butcher, the Chef & the Swordsman” and “Love in Space”.

Bona and Huayi will each acquire up to 20% of China Lion. The deal will add U.S. and Canadian distribution to the two companies’ diverse public portfolios, and create a major distribution bridge between the United States and China.

Bona CEO Yu Dong remarked, “This is a major milestone for both Bona and China’s film industry, as it will allow overseas Chinese to watch Chinese movies without delay, as well as open modern Chinese movies to a broader North American audience, and thereby help promote Chinese culture. I believe this is a strong win-win partnership.”

Huayi President Zhonglei (James) Wang noted, “In the past year, China Lion has broken important ground by bringing North American audiences the very best of Chinese cinema. We believe the China Lion management team will continue to expand distribution in this world-leading market, with the support of strong partners like AMC. We look forward to assisting the company with those endeavors, and also to being an important conduit in production and distribution in China and throughout Asia.”

China Lion CEO Milt Barlow added, “We are delighted to welcome the strategic investment from two of China’s largest and most successful entertainment companies, Bona and Huayi. In addition to contributing their deep expertise, both companies are able to provide China Lion with vertical integration opportunities in distribution and production within and outside China.”

About Bona Film Group

Bona Film Group Limited is a leading film distributor in China, with an integrated business model encompassing film distribution, film production, film exhibition and talent representation. Bona distributes films to Greater China, Korea, Southeast Asia, the United States and Europe; invests and produces movies in a variety of genres; owns and operates 11 movie theaters; and manages a range of talented and popular Chinese artists.

About Huayi Brothers Media Corporation

Huayi Brothers Media Corporation is the largest privately owned media company in China. It consists of six business divisions covering different areas of the entertainment industry, including: Huayi Brothers Pictures, which handles film production & distribution; Huayi Brothers Television, which produces over 500 TV drama episodes per year; Huayi Brothers Talent Agency, which manages over 50 artists; Huayi Brothers Advertising Agency, which specializes in corporate branding and integrated marketing; Huayi Brothers Music, which produces record albums for its contract artists; and HB Cinemas, which is currently developing new cinema chains in China.

About China Lion

China Lion Film Distribution is a joint venture between Beijing-based Jiang Yanming and Auckland-based Milt Barlow. Mr. Jiang is a 30-year veteran producer and visual effects leader in the Chinese film sector. In 2006, Mr. Jiang was a founding member of Technicolor China, the first ever Chinese-backed joint venture with the Hollywood titan. Mr. Jiang is the current president and COO of Technicolor China. Mr. Barlow is a 30-year veteran of the film distribution sector in Australia and New Zealand and is a former president and CEO of Village Roadshow Entertainment in Australia. China Lion Chairman Greg Coote is an industry veteran and most recently was chairman and CEO of Dune Entertainment.

SOURCE: Bona Film Group Limited

IN THE PRESS:

. Chinese studios Huayi Brothers, Bona take stakes in U.S.-based China Lion (THR, 31/10/2011)

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