Lionsgate is in advanced discussions with China’s Hunan TV, the country’s second largest broadcaster, to partner on film production and distribution. Reuters first reported the talks after Hunan TV made a statement on the Shenzhen stock exchange. We hear that Hunan would come in to provide financing on Lionsgate’s $1.5B slate over a three-year period. We also understand that the companies are examining working together on local production and distribution in China, as well as a number of strategic TV initiatives. If the deal makes, it’s likely that the Hunger Games and Divergent franchises would not be involved. The stock exchange statement also said Lionsgate would help distribute Chinese films produced by Hunan TV internationally.
This marks the latest deal between Hollywood and China. Last year, Lionsgate refused to comment on reports that Alibaba was in talks to acquire a minority stake in the company. However, this deal is not expected to take the possibility of partnerships with other Chinese companies off the table. Lionsgate in fact already has a streaming deal with Alibaba and the company is believed to be keen to grow its presence in China.
The Hunan firm, which owns a film subsidiary in Hong Kong, also plans to launch its own U.S. operations.