China’s Bona Film Sets Film & TV Fund; Will Finance Fox Co-Pro ‘Moscow Mission’

In what it’s touting as the first fund dedicated exclusively to film and television in China, Bona Film Group has launched a 1B Renminbi fund ($163.4M) to develop and produce projects over the next two years. The fund is managed by Wuhu Bona Film Investment Management Limited, a newly formed company whose shareholders include Bona, Sequoia Capital and Gopher Asset Management. Bona chairman and CEO Yu Dong said investor reaction had been enthusiastic and led to an oversubscription. Last year, News Corp took a 19.9 % stake in Bona. Fox International Productions later sealed a multi-picture co-producing pact for Chinese-language films. The companies’ first project together, Moscow Mission — about a series of robberies on a train line between Beijing and Moscow — will be financed by the fund. Bona also has co-production agreements with Universal and Working Title. Where applicable, the company says it will distribute all films in which the fund invests, both domestically and internationally. One of China’s leading non state-owned film companies, it’s eyeing an even bigger piece of the pie. Yu recently told Bloomberg, “If Bona is able to control 7% to 10% of the market going forward, we’re in position to become one of the biggest film companies in the world.” The Chinese box office is expected to outpace the U.S. by 2020 as screens go up at a breakneck pace. And, this year has seen the fortunes of homegrown films increase. In the first half of 2013, ticket sales for Chinese movies skyrocketed to $1.1B, a 144% jump on last year.

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