X-Men co-writer and Transformers producer Tom DeSanto has teamed with Citic Guoan, a division of Chinese conglomerate Citic Group, on a series of films for the global market. The pact, which was unveiled at the close of the Beijing International Film Festival, is said to include a $120M U.S.-China co-production project.
“We are joining hands with Hollywood legend Tom DeSanto to jointly create a series of movies incorporating Chinese culture for the global audience,” CITIC Guoan said in a statement, according to local reports. “We hope that Chinese movies can appear on the global film stage to let more moviegoers appreciate Chinese culture’s long history and charm.”
No further details of the projects between DeSanto and CITIC Guoan were available, although DeSanto was previously working on a re-imagining of the millennium-old Chinese story, Creation Of The Gods.
He is a producer on Transformers: The Last Knight, the next installment which releases this summer. The franchise has found great success in China. The previous title, Transformers: Age Of Extinction, is the No. 3 highest-grossing import of all time, only having been eclipsed at No. 2 by The Fate Of The Furious this past weekend. Age Of Extinction was made under a cooperation agreement with China backing. (That film’s partners, Jiaflix, 1905 Pictures and Lorenzo di Bonaventura are working on Speedhunters, eyed as the start of a new global franchise and seeking Chinese co-production status.)
In order to qualify as a China-U.S. co-production, which ups Hollywood’s PROC revenue share to about 40% from the typical 25% on direct imports, there have to be a certain number of Chinese elements. The Great Wall is the biggest example of a co-pro that married east and west. The expensive picture grossed $170M in China and $332M worldwide.
In 2015, CITIC Guoan hooked up with former Disney Chairman Dick Cook to invest $150M in his Dick Cook Studios. DCS last year entered into a $500M motion picture financing production agreement with China’s Film Carnival.
CITIC Guoan also has interests in studio facilities. In 2016, it partnered with Film Carnival as the effects hub on Jeffrey Lau’s Ne Zha, the status of which is unclear.