Movies

Next Kung Fu Panda to be filmed in China

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Mumbai: Further strengthening Hollywood?s fast-growing ties with China, DreamWorks Animation and its Chinese partners have announced plans to co-produce the next Kung Fu Panda film and develop an entertainment district in Shanghai, expanding Hollywood?s fast-growing ties to China.

Kung Fu Panda 3 will be produced in China and released in 2016, according to DreamWorks Animation SKG Ltd. and its state-owned local partners, China Media Capital, Shanghai Media Group and Shanghai Alliance Investment.

The film will be produced by a new joint venture, Shanghai Oriental DreamWorks Film and Television Technology Co. While DreamWorks will own 45 per cent of the company, its Chinese partners will hold stakes totaling 55 per cent.

Hollywood studios have announced quite a few deals with local partners to gain access to Chinese financing and a government-controlled film market that seems to be growing strongly at a time of weak ticket sales in the US and Europe.

Oriental DreamWorks plans to release one to three films per year and employ as many as 2,000 production professionals, the partners said. They said it aims to become the largest animation production base in China and also will explore opportunities in online games, musicals and consumer products.

Last year, Legendary Entertainment, producer of hits including The Dark Knight, formed Legendary East with Chinese studio Huayi Brothers Media Corp. It plans one to two movies per year, mainly in English and based on Chinese themes.

Another studio, Relativity Media, said last year it would make movies with two Chinese partners for global audiences and distribute movies in China.

Foreign studios hope partnering with local companies will increase their access to China?s tightly controlled film market.

For the past decade, China?s state-run film distributors have allowed in only 20 foreign films per year for national distribution. The foreign share of ticket sales is limited to a range of 13.5 to 17.5 percent.

In March, the government announced it will allow in an additional 14 foreign films if they are made in 3-D or for the big-screen Imax format. It raised the foreign share of ticket sales to 25 per cent.

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