EXCLUSIVE: Peter Loehr is in demand after Deadline first announced he’s leaving CAA’s Beijing office. Last week we reported that Loehr might be joining Bruno Wu’s new $800M film fund and that’s still possible. But the newest development is that Thomas Tull has made Loehr an offer to run Legendary East. Loehr had been head of CAA’s Beijing office since it opened in 2005. He has been in talks to join Bruno Wu, the Chinese entrepreneur who last month unveiled a plan to raise $800 million in equity financing to make English-language pictures under the banner of the Harvest Seven Stars Media Fund. The fund is being advised by CAA and I hear the agency really wants Loehr to take the job. Meanwhile, Thomas Tull who runs Legendary Pictures is about to relaunch Legendary East with a new structure and new financing after its proposed partner Paul Y Engineering put its $220.5 million investment in the venture on hold in late December 2011. No deal is yet in place for Loehr, who is in demand because he’s a rarity: an experienced film guy who lives in China and has been part of the production community for a long time. Loehr established the country’s first independent film studio, Imar Film, in 1997, before opening CAA’s China outpost.
China is shaping up to be a major way of expanding international box office, particularly after the country agreed to loosen the number of movie imports permitted to play in China, where theaters are cropping up like crazy. As for Thomas Tull’s Legendary East, its proposed partner Paul Y Engineering put its $220.5 million investment in the venture on hold in late December 2011. The Hong Kong construction company said it had been unable to raise the necessary funds in a share sale to investors ahead of the year-end deadline even though the placement had received “a positive and substantial response”. Now, with Ed Zwick’s project Great Wall in development, and another fundraising round underway, Legendary East could be the next hot China venture. Tull unveiled Legendary East last June in partnership with China’s Huayi Brothers and plans to co-produce English-language features and related content for a worldwide audience. In August, publicly-traded PYE emerged as an investor saying it would raise the $220.5 million by issuing new shares in Hong Kong. Under that deal, PYE was to have owned 50% of Legendary East.