Former Disney Chairman Dick Cook today announced he was launching Dick Cook Studios, a new media company, with a $150 million investment from Citic Guoan Group Co. Ltd., a division of the Chinese conglomerate Citic Group.
In a statement, Cook said, “I am thrilled to formally announce the launch of Dick Cook Studios. Our mission will always be to provide the very best in family entertainment inclusive of all generations, which inspires, engages, excites and always contributes positively not only to our communities but to the world at large. We will have many more announcements in the coming weeks and months as our long standing plans come together.”
Cook was chairman of the Walt Disney Studios from 2002 to 2009, having spent a total of 40 years with the Mouse House, overseeing the likes of Pirates of the Caribbean and National Treasure. He was ousted, however, in 2009. Since then, he has kept a relatively low profile while attempting to raise private financing for his new venture. He has served on the board of Legendary Pictures since 2011 and exec produced Jackie Robinson biopic 42 in 2013.
“We chose to partner with Dick Cook Studios as Mr. Cook has played a leading role in the entertainment industry for over 38 years along with his expertise and management experience at The Walt Disney Company and his excellent reputation and vast network of resources,” stated CITIC Guoan Group Co., Ltd. Chairman Mr. Li Shilin. “With Mr. Cook and his highly respected team, we are guaranteed that every segment of our cooperation will be of the highest standards. They appreciate and understand traditional Chinese culture, and they look forward to telling Chinese stories that will play to families across the globe. We both believe that cultural works in spreading love and positive energy is the world’s eternal theme.”
Details of the new venture were thin at the time of announcement, however, it was described as focusing “exclusively on the production, marketing and distribution of multi-generational family entertainment including live-action and animated motion pictures as well as television, digital/mobile product, video games, stage plays and related licensing.”
Cook’s tie-up with a Chinese company marks the latest in an increasing number of Hollywood tie-ups with the Middle Kingdom. Robert Simonds’ STX has announced a three year deal with Huayi Bros Media to produce 18 films. Lionsgate closed a deal with Hunan TV to finance 25% of the mini-major’s slate, worth up to $375 million, while Jeff Robinov raised an initial $200 million from Fosun Group to help him launch Studio 8.
According to the release, Citic Guoan is the largest industrial subsidiary of CITIC Group, established in 1987, with assets of over $15 billion.It has interests across finance, film & television culture, media, tourism, information, real estate, wine industry and research development.