Date
24 January 2017
Actor Matt Damon (second from left) discusses the movie The Great Wall. The film was financed by a joint venture involving Legendary Entertainment, which is in talks with Dalian Wanda. Photo: AP
Actor Matt Damon (second from left) discusses the movie The Great Wall. The film was financed by a joint venture involving Legendary Entertainment, which is in talks with Dalian Wanda. Photo: AP

Wanda Group chases Hollywood prize

A bigger Hollywood target in the sights of Chinese entertainment giant Dalian Wanda Group Co.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Wanda, which owns US cinema chain AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc., is in talks to buy a minority stake in American film and television company Legendary Entertainment.

The two companies have yet made a final decision about the financial terms or how they will collaborate.

Wang Jianlin, chairman of the closely held group which is also engaged property development, met with Legendary chief executive Thomas Tull in June, according to information on Wanda’s website.

Wanda wants to raise its profile overseas, with aspirations to be a global film giant.

The Beijing-based company has talked with a number of Hollywood studios such as Lions Gate Entertainment Corp., best known for The Hunger Games, in the past several years looking for acquisitions and film collaborations.

Legendary, meanwhile, has been among Hollywood’s most aggressive players in China.

In 2013 it teamed with state-owned China Film Co. Ltd to form Legendary East, a joint venture making big-budget movies in that country intended for a global audience.

Its first production, The Great Wall starring Matt Damon, will be released in November next year.

Best known for helping to finance such movies as The Dark Knight, The Hangover and Jurassic World, Legendary has in the past few years started producing its own movies, including Godzilla, Seventh Son and the just-released Krampus.

It has also launched television and digital businesses.

A deal with Wanda could give Legendary stronger connections in China and tie Wanda closer to Hollywood. Legendary has a multiyear business partnership with Comcast Corp.’s Universal Pictures.

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