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City fest displays China's rise as film power

(Shanghai Daily)

08:57, June 17, 2013

From left: Hong Kong actors Chow Yun-fat, Donnie Yen and Aaron Kwok pose with three specially designed motorbikes yesterday while promoting their new 3D fantasy film "The Monkey King." The film is expected to premiere at year's end. Each motorbike symbolizes a role of the three plays - Jade Emperor for Chow, Monkey King for Yen and Bull Demon King for Kwok.(Photo/Shanghai Daily)

China will add 45 new IMAX theaters for a total of 150 by year's end as momentum builds behind the nation's growing role in international film development and screening, according to movie entrepreneurs, financiers and directors who spoke at the on-going 16th Shanghai International Film Festival.

The IMAX announcement was made by Chen Jiande, CEO of IMAX China, at the opening ceremony of the film festival's IMAX Films Panorama.

Peace Cinema, China's first IMAX theater, was built 14 years ago in Shanghai. Now there are 105 commercial IMAX theaters in China. IMAX is a film format and projection standards that can present images of great size and resolution.

Five IMAX version movies will be shown during the film festival, include Ang lee's "Life of Pi," the second and third installments of the "Transformers" film series, "Inception" and "Top Gun."

"Chinese cinema is undergoing rapid growth," said Chen. "Technology is an important force. However, its development can't just rely on the technologies of film screening and production. We hope a few more outstanding Chinese films will emerge."

China's film industry has contributed cultural influences and made economic contributions that have helped the whole industry evolve, officials said at the film festival yesterday.

The increase in the potential market for films and greater resources poured into film production and distribution are creating new opportunities, speakers said during the forum on Creating Content for a Worldwide Audience.

In 2018, China's box office will hit US$10 billion, the current size of the US market, according to Yu Dong, founder and chairman of Bona Film Group.

About 100 billion yuan (US$15.9 billion) of potential capital is being made available for the film industry in China annually, five or six times the annual box office, said Levin Zhu, chief executive of the China International Capital Co.

Chinese directors and firms also are eyeing the global film market.

"A film with a good story and common feelings of human beings still has great potential in the international market," said director Tsui Hark.

Films jointly produced by Chinese firms and overseas studios will become a trend, Yu said.

Beijing Galloping Horse Media Group, which acquired US-based studio Digital Domain, has ponied up US$300 million to tap into opportunities in new media and overseas markets, said Ivy Zhong, vice chairman of Galloping Horse.

Chinese film studio Huayi Brothers also released new plans yesterday. The studio will work with QED International on release of David Ayer's World War II film "Fury," starring Brad Pitt and Shia Labeouf. The studio will be the film's distributor in China when it is released next year.

Hong Kong actor Chow Yun-fat and action star Donnie Yen were also in town yesterday to promote their new 3D fantasy film "The Monkey King." Most of the CGI visual stunts were done by a veteran Hollywood team.

Also, the Shanghai Film Museum opens to the public in Xujiahui today, displaying more than 3,000 items about the achievements and lives of celebrated Chinese film figures.

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