Sony, Dalian Wanda will collaborate as China-Hollywood partnership continues

Sony Pictures and the Chinese company Dalian Wanda will reportedly be teaming up for various high-profile films. It's the newest development in the relationship between Hollywood and China.

William Hong/Reuters
Children watch a 3D war movie at a community theatre in Hefei, Anhui province in China in 2015.

Dalian Wanda Group of China and Sony Pictures will be working together on various high-profile films, just the latest sign of Hollywood and China teaming up to bring entertainment to moviegoers across the globe. 

Wanda had previously purchased Legendary Entertainment, which recently released such movies as “Steve Jobs” and “Straight Outta Compton.”

Sony, meanwhile, has been behind such movies as the “Spider-Man” films (both the early 2000s movies and the more recent films) as well as the James Bond movies and the “Men in Black” series. 

As part of the team-up, Wanda and Sony will partner for various high-profile films. 

A statement by Wanda said that the company will "highlight the China element in the films in which it invests," according to the Los Angeles Times. 

Deadline reporter Mike Fleming Jr. writes that some of the movies that could be worked on by Wanda and Sony are the upcoming science fiction movie “Passengers,” which stars Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt; the “Jumanji” remake starring Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan, Jack Black, and Nick Jonas; and a new “Smurfs” film. 

According to Deadline, the nature of Wanda's partnership could be to aid with marketing in China as well as co-financing.

The move by Wanda and Sony is the latest development in the growing relationship between Hollywood and China in recent years. 

One project that industry watchers are keeping an eye on is the upcoming film “The Great Wall,” which stars Matt Damon, Andy Lau, Pedro Pascal, and a co-production from China and America. It’s directed by Yimou Zhang and is set to be released in China this December and in the US this February. Those behind the movie are no doubt hoping the film will win over a global audience.

Some believed China would become the biggest box office market in the world by the conclusion of 2017, but that may not happen by then – the country's box office declined during the second quarter of 2016. 

Stanley Rosen, a USC political science professor, told the Los Angeles Times that because of this, the timing of the Wanda-Sony partnership is logical. 

“This makes sense for Wanda because it’s continuing to establish credibility in Hollywood,” Dr. Rosen said.

Meanwhile, Jackie Cai and Brenda Goh of Reuters noted that “despite an economic slowdown and dipping ticket sales, China showed how it could still be a savior for Hollywood producers in June after Universal's $160 million blockbuster ‘Warcraft’ managed to chalk up $156 million in China in the first five days despite flopping in the United States.”

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