Television

Walt Disney, Shanghai Media Group to develop Disney-branded movies

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MUMBAI: Walt Disney Studios has inked a deal with Shanghai Media Group Pictures to develop Disney-branded movies. This is the latest move by a US studio to grow its presence in China's entertainment business.

US-based writers will team up with local scribes and directors 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 develop 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 Film Censorship Committee comprising of 37 members filters 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 year.

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 US films to the world's second-largest cinema market.

Production companies like Viacom Inc’s Paramount Picture and DreamWorks AnimationSKG Inc have also 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.

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