Universal Pictures and China-based Perfect World Pictures have made official their multi-year financing agreement that includes films across the entire Universal slate. It comes after word of the deal first surfaced last month, and it marks the first time a Chinese non-SOE (state-owned enterprise) entertainment company will be working directly with a major U.S. studio. Additionally, this will be the first time a Chinese company will invest in a multi-year slate deal with a major studio.
The partnership will begin this year and last five years or for the co-financing of 50 pictures. Specific films covered by the pact will be announced at a later date. Legendary Entertainment will continue to finance select Universal titles.
“We are delighted to be partnering with Perfect World and appreciate the confidence it has in our film slates going forward after a record-breaking 2015,” said Jeff Shell, Chairman, Universal Filmed Entertainment. “With Perfect World’s history of success in the Chinese market, we look forward to exploring other opportunities to work together.”
Michael Chi, Chairman of Perfect World, added, “Building out our film business and expanding into international markets are two of the most important initiatives for Perfect World. Universal has had a stellar last few years, and with a slate that boasts many titles that we know will thrive in the marketplace, we are confident our partnership with them is a solid step in the right direction. Our partnership with Universal is not just about making movies together, but also about the opportunities that exist in the synergy across our multiple business lines to maximize strategic value for all involved.”
Perfect World was repped by Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP. Universal Pictures was advised by The Raine Group and represented by Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP.