Legendary Entertainment announced today the formation of Legendary East Ltd., a stand alone entertainment company dedicated to creating feature film content for a worldwide audience. Based in Hong Kong, with Chinese management and strong international investors, and Legendary Entertainment's successful experience producing and financing feature films, Legendary East will be uniquely positioned to produce content for the global market which draws on its deep Chinese ties. Legendary East is the vision of Legendary Entertainment's Chairman and CEO Thomas Tull, who along with Chinese born Hong Kong media and finance entrepreneur Kelvin Wu, created the venture. Legendary East's local co-production and distribution partner is its strategic shareholder - Huayi Brothers Media Corporation, a leading Chinese film conglomerate. The announcement was made today in Beijing by Tull and Huayi Brothers CEO Wang Zhongjun, and Huayi Brothers President, Wang Zhonglei.
Legendary East's films are anticipated to be developed and produced as co-productions with Huayi Brothers, who will distribute the movies in China, while distribution in all other parts of the globe is anticipated to be handled by Warner Bros. Pictures, with whom Legendary Entertainment has a long-standing relationship. Legendary East initially plans on producing one to two major, event style films for worldwide audiences annually beginning in 2013.
"China is one of the most important economic and culturally significant areas in the world, and we are deeply honored to establish a base in this region to create entertainment that is globally appealing in quality, scale and impact," commented Mr. Tull. "Legendary Entertainment is committed to building a long-term presence in China and the surrounding region by becoming part of both the rapidly growing world-class filmmaking community and its media and business economy. Our newly announced production and distribution partnership with Huayi Brothers in China, coupled with Legendary East's management team lead by Kelvin Wu, positions us well in our pursuit of these goals."
"As the rapid growth of the Chinese film market has attracted more and more attention and participation from filmmakers around the world, Huayi Brothers is very fortunate to be an active participant in this global trend and to witness China becoming the 2nd largest market for film by 2012. Even though in 2010, Huayi Brothers alone contributed 30% of the domestic Chinese film B.O. in China (17% of the overall domestic B.O.), we have never stopped exploring any possibility that can enhance us to break into the global market," commented Mr. Zhonglei, President. "I am glad that I have found Legendary, the leading film creator and trend setter, to be my comrade. We sincerely value this partnership and believe that this collaboration will not only produce countless fantastic films for our global audience; but simultaneously will allow the world to see China from a whole new perspective."
Legendary East will be led by an experienced management team with significant experience working with Hollywood studios as well as with Western and Chinese entertainment companies. The Legendary East senior executive team will be comprised of Thomas Tull, Executive Chairman; Kelvin Wu, Chief Executive Officer; and Joel Chang, Chief Financial Officer.
"Hong Kong was said to be the Hollywood of the East and has emerged as one of the most important international financial centers today. Thanks to the rapid growth of the Chinese film market, Hong Kong has been regaining its momentum to become eminent in film production. With the support from Legendary Entertainment, we are excited to be a part of Legendary East and be in the forefront of bridging the creative with finance, and the East with the West," said Mr. Wu.
The announcement also marks Legendary Entertainment's formal entrance into the Chinese marketplace. In the formation of Legendary East, Legendary Entertainment was advised by Goldman, Sachs & Co.; Legendary East was advised by Centerview Partners LLC.