On Friday, Deadline reported that Relativity Media is forming a joint partnership with Jiangsu Broadcasting Corp to develop, co-finance, co-produce and distribute film and TV projects for the Chinese and international marketplace. JSBC is making an equity investment in Relativity as part of the deal. Expanding on that, Relatvity announced today at the Shanghai International Film Festival that it has been appointed as the strategic international distribution partner for Chinese language films licensed by China Film Promotion International, a state-owned government agency that oversees the promotion and commercial distribution of Chinese films abroad. Ryan Kavanaugh’s company has also signed a strategic advisory agreement with Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Limited via which investment firm SeedShine Capital has entered a binding agreement to invest in Relativity. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Under the CFPI deal, Relativity will distribute select Chinese language films in the U.S. and help to promote them at various major overseas film festivals, receiving a distribution fee. While box office is growing at a breakneck pace in China, local films have had difficulty traveling. The first title that Relativity will release in the U.S. under the CFPI deal is expected to be Imperial Consort Yang. Now in production, the epic romance war drama is a love story involving Emperor Xuanzong of the Tang Dynasty. Cheng Shiqing directs with Fan Bingbing, Leon Lai, Wu Chun, Joan Chen and Ning Jing starring.
The strategic advisory relationship with ICBC will grant Relativity access to ICBC’s international network of financial resources. Wenwei Duan, Managing Director of Investment Banking at ICBC, said, “Given Relativity’s quite sophisticated, risk-mitigated business model and its high growth potential, investing in the company is an attractive opportunity for investors like SeedShine Capital. We look forward to working with Ryan and the Relativity team as they tap into the Asian and international capital markets to continue to pursue strategically compelling growth opportunities.” Proceeds from the SeedShine Capital and JSBC investments will be used to support Relativity’s core business strategy, which is focused on increasing its slate to over 15 movies by 2015/2016; expanding its digital offer; and acquiring complementary film and TV libraries, TV production and distribution networks, and advertising and branding agencies.