Veteran entertainment executive Jiang Wei (who also goes by the first name of Wayne) has been appointed CEO of Legendary East. Jiang will be responsible for leading the company’s operations including energizing its local-language and official co-production capabilities, overseeing China-based marketing of all film projects and harnessing distribution opportunities alongside Legendary owner, Wanda, optimizing the cinema network and marketing platforms. Contrary to media reports out of China, Jiang will have a broader role and is not a direct replacement for Peter Loehr who exited the company in 2017.
Jiang will work closely with Legendary Entertainment Vice Chairman of Worldwide Production Mary Parent to manage the strategic release of content in the region. The hiring of Jiang is the first big appointment by Legendary CEO Joshua Grode who joined the company last month, replacing Thomas Tull who sold Legendary to Wanda for $3.5B a year ago.
Jiang is a seasoned exec who moves over from Shaw Brothers Holdings Limited where he served as Executive Director. He has also held posts at Sony Pictures, where he worked on the development and distribution of Ang Lee’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and as Edko Films’ Chief Representative of Greater China and General Manager. His credits there boast the distribution of Universal Pictures titles in the Bourne and Fast & Furious franchises.
Jiang was also Vice President of Urban Cinema Branch of China Film Distribution and Projection Association. His experience in film distribution includes work on such titles as Fearless; King Fu Hustle; Lust, Caution; The Mummy: Tomb Of The Dragon Emperor and Finding Mr Right. Further, from 2013 to 2016 Jiang served as Managing Director of Gravity Pictures where he produced and distributed local-language films including Black & White Episode 2, Fleet Of Time, Somewhere Only We Know and Let’s Get Married. He also developed and produced Warner Bros’ prehistoric shark tale The Meg, a China co-production which releases this year.
Grode says, “Wayne’s deep experience in handling production, marketing and distribution of both local productions and films from the major studios throughout China makes him a terrific addition to Legendary Entertainment and Legendary East. He brings leadership, strategic sensibility, and sector expertise to this most important market. Mary and I both look forward to working with him to expand Legendary East, its capabilities on the ground in China, and production and marketing resources.”
For Jiang, he is “deeply honored to be given the opportunity to join Josh and Mary in building Legendary Entertainment and Legendary East into a world-class next generation entertainment studio. My country is undergoing tremendous growth and change in its entertainment business and Legendary is uniquely positioned to capitalize on this change.”
Legendary East has a full team based in Beijing that’s focused on developing local and co-production motion pictures and television programing; licensing and merchandising of film- and TV-related products; and marketing of Legendary’s global franchise projects.
Last year, Kong: Skull Island was a big hit in China with over $168M in that market. The year prior, Legendary made Chinese co-production The Great Wall, a costly experiment that ultimately came in at $171M in China and $335M worldwide.
On deck this year for Legendary are Dwayne Johnson-starrer Skyscraper and sequel Pacific Rim: Uprising. It’s also got a hand in Universal’s Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again. In 2019, Godzilla: King Of Monsters starts storming the globe.