China Lion Eyes U.S. Market With Cannes Pickups

Freelance journalist Don Groves is a Deadline contributor based in Sydney

EXCLUSIVE: China Lion Film Distribution is set to ramp up its North American release schedule after acquiring five titles at Cannes as well as targeting films it hopes will cross over to U.S. art house audiences. Its acquisitions for the States, where it has a deal with AMC Entertainment to screen up to 15 titles a year, include the raunchy Hong Kong comedy Vulgaria, Taiwanese romantic comedies Girlfriend Boyfriend and When A Wolf Falls In Love With A Sheep, warlord actioner The Bullet Vanishes and Thai martial arts pic Rebirth. China Lion CEO Milt Barlow told Deadline that Vulgaria fits with its strategy of targeting art houses as well as Chinese-speaking cinemagoers; films such as Starry Starry Night and A Simple Life, which have already screened for Chinese communities, would have second runs in art houses. The company, which launched in 2010, also picked up The Sweeney — a crime drama starring Ray Winstone, Ben Drew and Hayley Atwell inspired by the 1970s British TV series — as its first release in China and Hong Kong. China Lion’s major shareholders are Jiang Yanming and the Chinese studios Huayi Brothers Media Corp and Bona Film Group. Bona is the Chinese producer-distributor that recently received a strategic investment from News Corp.

Related: China’s Wanda Group Agrees To Pay $2.6B For AMC Entertainment

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