Disney, Shanghai Media Group to develop Disney-branded movies
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[March 07, 2014]
By Chris Peters and Kanika Sikka
Walt Disney Studios has signed an
agreement with Shanghai Media Group Pictures to develop
Disney-branded movies, the latest move by a U.S. studio to grow its
presence in China's entertainment business.
U.S.-based writers will team up with local writers and
filmmakers to develop stories and scripts that incorporate
Chinese themes in Disney movies, the studio said in a statement.
The studio said the multi-year partnership with Shanghai Media
will expand training opportunities between Chinese and American
writers and filmmakers.
Tony To, the studio's executive vice president of production,
will oversee the co-development program, which could allow for
easier releases of English-language films in China.
A 37-member Film Censorship Committee vets every movie in China
for nudity, violence and politically sensitive scenes. Western
films in addition must meet the committee's "amendment opinions"
to be one of the 34 Hollywood films permitted in China each
Last year, Disney's superhero film "Iron Man 3" debuted in China
and included a top Chinese actress and footage shot in China,
additions that helped the film ease past strict censors and
often confusing rules for Western films.
In February, the official Xinhua news agency reported that China
will maintain its quota for imported Hollywood movies this year,
rejecting reports it had planned to increase access for U.S.
films to the world's second-largest cinema market.
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Production companies like Viacom Inc's Paramount Picture and
DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc have hired Chinese actors and set up
co-productions with Chinese firms.
China's entertainment and media market is estimated to grow to $148
billion by 2015 from around $120 billion in 2013, according to
PricewaterhouseCoopers' outlook for the global entertainment and
media business 2011-2015.
In 2012, Disney was named founding partner of a National Chinese
Animation Creative Research and Development Project — an initiative
to advance China's animation industry and train local talent and
promote the development of Chinese content and franchises.
Walt Disney Co and BesTV New Media, the digital media unit of the
Shanghai Media Group, formed a joint venture in China in December
2013, to provide entertainment using both companies' technical and
(Editing by Matt Driskill)
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