DreamWorks Animation Preps For Move Into China
DreamWorks Animation is planning to open a Shanghai operation to make films for China’s booming market, a recruitment firm told AFP today. The studio has hired RSR Partners to recruit a president for the planned venture, making it the latest in a line of Hollywood companies trying to crack the potentially huge market. The Kung Fu Panda movies were made with a Chinese audience in mind, and the second film in the franchise became the highest-grossing animated feature ever in the country when it was released this year, taking in $93M. DWA officials would not confirm the venture, but a letter from RSR to prospective hires seen by AFP said the company was looking to “establish a production and development presence in China.” Box office receipts rose 64% to $1.5B in China in 2010, making it the fastest-growing movie market. Earlier this month, Legendary Entertainment launched Legendary East in Hong Kong, where it will build a studio. Relativity Media unveiled a strategic partnership with China’s Huaxia Film Distribution and SkyLand Film-Television Culture Development that includes forming the first U.S.-China distribution company.

Peppa Pig Company Entertainment One On The Block
Entertainment One, Canada’s largest production and distribution company and owner of the Peppa Pig brand, confirmed today that it is exploring sale possibilities. Most of Entertainment One’s revenues come from film and TV distribution in North America and the U.K. and it has a substantial film library, valued at $250M last year. The company increased revenues by 12% last year to around $740M, delivering a pre-tax profit of nearly $50M. The company’s 28% growth in film revenues last quarter could entice a buyer and it will distribute the next Twilight film in the U.K. and Canada. Peppa Pig debuted in the U.S. on Nick Jr. this year after a long run in the UK, where it inspired a theme park. Peppa Pig products will be available in U.S. toys stories this Christmas, via a Fisher Price licensing deal. The offering means that the U.K.’s three top kiddie entertainment companies are now available. Thomas the Tank Engine owner HIT Entertainment is seeking suitors, and Chorion, owner of the Mr Men and Noddy franchises, is on the block as well. Entertainment One’s shares skyrocketed on the London Stock Exchange today, raising the firm’s market value to $564M.