Huayi’s James Wang told Bloomberg over the weekend that — with their landmark three-year co-production and distribution deal due to expire in early 2018 — he wants to expand the relationship “beyond slate financing.” The companies have held in-depth discussions about further investment and strategic collaboration, he added, although he did not provide specifics. Deadline has reached out to STX for comment.
“STX has a lot of plans in television and multimedia,” the CEO said. “They also have a lot of new ideas for the Asian market. We have had a lot of contacts in this regard.”
Wang’s comments come as Chinese authorities crack down on capital outflow and scrutinize so-called “irrational” deals. Those are seen mostly as acquisitions with oversized price tags or that are outside of a company’s core business.
“We have plans and wishes for more international cooperation, but we’re to some extent affected by capital control,” Wang told Bloomberg,
He added, though, that it’s “fortunate that our overseas business plan is not acquisition-driven, nor are we financial investors, so our needs for foreign exchange are not vast.”
In April 2015, STX and Huayi forged a three-year pact to co-produce and distribute 12-15 films per year. Under the partnership, Huayi collects a share in the global revenues of the slate. It also has the first right to distribute most STX movies in China.
At the time, the companies said it was the first time that a Chinese film firm would be involved in the entire process — from production to marketing to distribution. The first STX film Huayi released in China was last year’s The Boy. The agreement expires in the first quarter of 2018.
STX has strong ties to China. Investors include private equity firm Hony Capital, Middle Kingdom tech behemoth Tencent, and Hong Kong telecom giant PCCW. The latter two bought equity in the company in a funding round last August. In November, Simonds told the South China Morning Post he was contemplating opening offices in Hong Kong, hinting it was a possible site for an IPO.