American movie-making studio Walt Disney is gearing up to expand its presence in the Chinese market, with a freshly inked deal that has just been signed between it and the Shanghai Media Group Pictures. Disney-branded movies under the collaboration will incorporate Chinese themes into Disney films, said the Studio in a new statement.
In a move to enhance training opportunities between the two superpower nations, the deal will see U.S.-based writers and filmmakers teaming up with their Chinese counterparts, to develop new stories in Disney films.
The move seemingly comes on the back of the deals made by Hollywood’s famed production companies, like Viacom Inc’s Paramount Pictures and Dreamworks Animation SKG tying up with Chinese actors and directors, and setting up co-productions with local firms.
As per the report, Tony To, Executive Vice President Production, will oversee the multi-year development program. Sources indicate the move will aim to boost the ease of release of English films in the Asian nation.
Currently, China’s censorship norms are among the most stringent in the world, with a 37-member Film Censorship Committee vetting every film released in China on the parameters of nudity, violence and anything that is deemed “politically sensitive”.
So far, Disney has made some inroads in the Chinese market, when Disney was made the founding partner of a National Chinese Animation Creative R&D project in 2012. The collaboration was aimed at providing stimulus to the Chinese animation industry, and to train local talent.
Then in December 2013, came the news of Walt Disney Co and BesTV New Media signing on the dotted line of a joint venture, to use the technical and marketing expertise of both companies, for the development of the entertainment industry.
In 2013, Hollywood made giant strides into China, releasing Disney’s superhero flick Iron Man 3, which featured a leading Chinese actress Fan Bingbing, and a chunk of the film shot in China, which somehow seemed to win over local censors.
Interestingly, China’s entertainment and media market was pegged at around $120 billion last year, and is expected to swell to $148 billion by 2015, according to Pricewater House Coopers outlook for the Global Entertainment and media business 2011-2015.