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English>>Life & Culture

Hollywood magic put to work in China

By Liu Wei (China Daily)

15:08, November 09, 2012

The first project China's Galloping Horse will work on with Digital Domain, the leading Hollywood visual effects company it acquired two months ago, will be Ender's Game, a film based on the popular American science fiction.

Digital Domain will hold a 37.5 percent of the stake in the film, investing both technology and money.

About 60 percent of the film, focusing on conflicts between humankind and aliens in the Earth's future, features special visual effects, according to Ivy Zhong, vice-chairperson of Galloping Horse.

Galloping Horse America and Mumbai-based Reliance Mediaworks acquired the company, which created visual wonder in Titanic and the Transformers series of films, for $30.2 million in September. Galloping Horse, based in Beijing, holds 70 percent and Reliance 30 percent of the financially strapped special-effects company.

Florida-based Digital Domain filed for bankruptcy protection from creditors under Chapter 11 of the federal bankruptcy code in September. The company was suffering from fierce competition in the increasingly global business, fewer film projects and rising expenditures.

Galloping Horse and Reliance acquired all of the businesses of Digital Domain, including feature film and advertising visual effects, commercial production, and studios in California and Vancouver.

The acquisition transforms Digital Domain from a service provider to content owner, which has been a "dream from the very beginning", says Digital Domain CEO Ed Ulbrich.

"We started as a service business, which is very limited and competitive," he tells China Daily. "If you look at companies like Pixar, who has transformed from a pure service provider to studio and content owner, this is really something that changes the business dramatically."

The transition brings challenges, but Ulbrich hopes the cooperation with Galloping Horse will offset them.

"It's difficult and there is risk, but you have to balance that risk with opportunities by picking the right films, distribution and creative partners."

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