BREAKING: Thomas Tull’s Legendary East said that China Film Co Ltd. has made an eight-figure equity investment in two Legendary Entertainment pics: the Jeff Bridges starrer Seventh Son and Warcraft, the pic based on the Blizzard online game that Duncan Jones is writing and directing. It marks the first time China Film Co has taken a stake in Hollywood films, and if the pics are approved by China‘s government it will distribute them in the booming movie market with support via Legendary East and global distribution partner Universal.
China Film Co is majority-owned by China Film Group and is the largest producer and distributor of Chinese content — CFG has an exclusive grip on Mainland revenue-share releasing. There has been talk that a new government-approved distributor could emerge, but a number of China-watchers are skeptical. Today’s deal stems from the multi-year agreement Legendary East and CFC inked in May 2013 to together produce tentpole-scale films for the global market. As part of the investment structure, CFC will be credited on these films, and its equity recouped, on a worldwide basis, the companies said. Today’s announcement was made by China Film Co chairman La Peikang and Legendary East CEO Peter Loehr.
“China Film Co., Ltd. has been paying close attention and great devotion to expanding its overseas market. The partnership with Legendary East is a new attempt in this progress,” La said. “I believe our collaboration on Seventh Son and Warcraft will become an effective step for both parties in terms of resource integration and market expansion.”
Warcraft is also important to Legendary because the video game adaptation is the first pic dated under its new new partnership with Universal. It is set for a March 11, 2016, release after it moved off it original December 18, 2015, date that was taken by the Star Wars reboot. Jones wrote the script with Charles Leavitt, and Atlas Entertainment’s Charles Roven and Alex Gartner along with Legendary’s Tull and Jon Jashni are producers. Seventh Son, which is due out February 6, 2015, is the Sergei Bedrov-directed fantasy that stars Bridges and Julianne Moore. Legendary backed the project when it was housed at Warner Bros and the pic moved to Universal as part of the new tie-up. That’s the split that also saw Legendary exit Warners’ Man Of Steel movies but stay for Godzilla, which which Legendary produced and majority financed.
“Seventh Son and Warcraft offer precisely the kind of unique worlds, stunning visuals and compelling stories that we originally partnered with China Film Co Ltd. to create,” Loehr said. “We are very pleased to welcome CFG into these productions and believe this is a fantastic way to kick-start what will be a successful relationship.”