Shanghai-based investment firm Puji Capital has launched Puji Films, a new entity that will focus on investments into the Chinese and Hollywood film industry. To kick open its doors it’s backing former Columbia Pictures head Peter Guber’s Mandalay Endurance Media Ventures.
MEMV is a joint venture between Mandalay Entertainment, Endurance Media and sports owner Jeff Vinik. Guber heads up the new production, financing and international distribution platform with Steve Richards (Sherlock Holmes, The Matrix Reloaded). In addition to Vinik, other major shareholders include Mandalay Entertainment Group Vice Chairman and COO Paul Schaeffer and former Lionsgate Chairman Peter Strauss.
Guber was former CEO and Chairman of Columbia Pictures Entertainment as well as Chairman of Dick Clark Productions. He was also owner/co-owner of three professional sports teams including the Golden State Warriors, the Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Football Club.
“We are at an interesting inflection with China’s film industry – we have China becoming the most important market globally coupled with an increasingly more sophisticated Chinese audience who strive for compelling stories and movies that captivate the heart and mind,” said Puji Film director Lily Zhao. “The Chinese audience is no longer looking for just the biggest explosion and CGI action sequence but also the story and characters that drive the film. We have looked at a number of film slates and production companies in Hollywood and MEMV is the first platform with the right approach for China. We are continually impressed by Peter (Guber) and the team’s creative vision. We could not be more excited by the first film and our future film pipeline for global and China markets.”
According to Zhao, MEMV will continue to play a strong influence in the China market, geared towards films that have mass commercial appeal as well as stories that will attract the Chinese market. Zhao adds that the growth of digital and mobile distribution in China points to more opportunities in the business.
MEMV part produced Liam Neeson and Diane Lane starrer Silent Man, a political thriller about the Watergate scandal that consumed the White House during the 1970s and led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon. Sony Pictures Classics picked up the title in May.