Wanda Group Pays Big Bucks to Buy JURASSIC WORLD Studio
China just grabbed a huge slice of the Hollywood pie.
In a move called “China’s biggest-ever cultural takeover,” Yahoo News reported January 12 that China’s Wanda Group has acquired Legendary Entertainment. The Hollywood company has helped produce some of America’s biggest blockbusters of the last decade.
Legendary’s resume includes co-production credits on superhero showcases (Christopher Nolan’s Batman series, SUPERMAN RETURNS), large-scale smashes (JURASSIC WORLD, INCEPTION, INTERSTELLAR, the 2014 GODZILLA); and a further potpourri of big-name Hollywood titles, including THE HANGOVER, CLASH OF THE TITANS, and STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON.
To buy out Legendary, Wanda forked over some serious cash, to the tune of $3.5 billion, per Yahoo. While the company’s head, Wang Jianlin, “denied that the deal… was intended to increase Beijing’s cultural influence”, there is no denying the symbolism of the power move. As China’s box office continues to grow, and projections indicate the Chinese box office could overtake Hollywood by the end of the decade, Wanda’s acquisition further ensures that China’s influence on international film is here to stay, in a big way.
Indeed, Lawrence Tull, founder of Legendary Entertainment, is quoted by Yahoo as saying, “We made a decision many years ago that was, China was going to be the future.” While Tull indicates that “on the creative front nothing will change,” the fact that Legendary, post-acquisition, may be exempt from Beijing’s yearly foreign film limit, as Yahoo reveals, posits some interesting questions for the future. Could there be more productions tailored for Chinese audiences, made on a Hollywood scale? The first major Asian superhero movie, perhaps? Major American talents taking on Chinese superheroes of the past? For the Chinese film industry, it appears, the opportunities could be endless.