EXCLUSIVE: Magnolia Entertainment, the Beverly Hills-based management and production company, is launching two new companies together with Chinese financier and production company Kylin Pictures. With access to $100 million in production financing, of which $10 million will be dedicated to development, the new companies will focus on both U.S.-Chinese co-productions as well as English-language international projects. There may also be the scope for gap financing on a picture-by-picture basis.
The companies have already worked together on The Moon And The Sun, starring Pierce Brosnan and Fan Bingbing. Paramount is releasing that film, directed by Sean McNamara, domestically. Magnolia is also exec producer of the Richard Gere-Dakota Fanning independent drama Franny.
Kylin and Mandarin are now working on George Nolfi’s Birth Of The Dragon, which will focus on Bruce Lee’s career-defining 1965 no-holds–barred TKO battle with kung fu master Wong Jack Man. Written by Oscar nominees Christopher Wilkinson and Stephen Rivele, the film focuses on the Oakland fight that launched Lee to martial arts stardom, which happened against the backdrop of the Hong Kong Triads’ criminal control of San Francisco’s Chinatown.
The two companies are also developing The Shanghai Sojourners, with Fan Bingbing in talks to star, based on the bestselling books by GL Yeng, who has written 13 other bestselling Chinese-language novels including The Flowers Of War, which Zhang Yimou adapted in a feature starring Christian Bale.
Kylin Pictures, owned and led by well-known Chinese producer Pang Hong, will create a film fund to be located in Los Angeles specifically for the financing of international English-language pictures, to be jointly led with and owned by Magnolia. Magnolia will, in turn, provide the infrastructure and expertise in the creation of a new management company to be located in Shanghai for actors, writers, and directors which will be co-owned and co-managed with Kylin.
The transaction is being negotiated by Shelley Browning and Kenneth Browning of Magnolia and Pierre Henry and Leo Young of Kylin Pictures.
The partnership reps the latest in a series of U.S.-Chinese film financing deals.