An Overture From China Is Yet to Win Hollywood

Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group is planning to expand its entertainment business into the United States, but boss Wang Jianlin’s ambitions of a share in mainstream Hollywood productions are not developing smoothly. From Michael Cieply at the New York Times:

Wanda has been talking with some studios, as Mr. Wang promised when Wanda completed its $2.6 billion acquisition of AMC Entertainment with a flashy presentation in early September. But any progress has come in halting steps, according to people briefed on the talks, who spoke on condition of anonymity to avoid conflict with the principals.

And that probably carries an overall message about the film industry’s current rush to do business in China: The promise is great, but much is still being lost in translation.

“Hollywood would prefer to accept what they commonly call ‘dumb money’ and not give very much back in return,” said Stanley Rosen, a University of Southern California political science professor who has written extensively about China. “China is now pushing back.”

Both sides are likely to continue pressing their efforts; Hollywood is eager to have a partner that can help it tap into China’s fast-growing film market, and Wanda wants to strengthen its foothold in the lucrative North American market. But the slow going underscores the disconnect inherent in negotiations between parties whose goals reflect their own, more narrow interests.

See more on Wanda’s acquisition of AMC and Cieply’s recent account, with Brooks Barnes, of the political strings attached to co-productions in China, via CDT.


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