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Eros gets Chinese partners for co-productions

MUMBAI: Eros International Media-owned franchise feature film studio Trinity Pictures has partnered leading Chinese film companies Peacock Mountain Culture & Media and Huaxia Film Distribution for its two Indo–Chinese co-productions to be released in FY18.

The two co-productions are Kabir Khan’s travel drama ‘The Zookeeper’ (working title) and Siddharth Anand’s cross-cultural romantic comedy ‘Love in Beijing’ (working title).

The two films are the first ever Indo–China co-productions set in both India and China and will have Han Sanping, former chairman of China Film Group, as their creative producer. Sanping has produced more than 300 films and 100 TV series, including ‘Red Cliff’, ‘Karate Kid’ and ‘Let the Bullet Fly’.

With the cast from both India and China—a leading Indian male actor and a leading Chinese actress—Kabir Khan’s ‘The Zookeeper’ tells the journey of an Indian zoo keeper to China to find a panda to return to India in order to save his zoo.

Siddharth Anand’s cross-cultural romantic comedy, ‘Love in Beijing’, also starring an A-list Indian actress and a leading Chinese male actor, tells of an Indian girl who falls in love with a Chinese man.

Production costs for ‘The Zookeeper’ by Kabir Khan are expected to be approximately $25.0 million and ‘Love in Beijing’ $15.0 million. The films will be shot simultaneously in both languages and are due for release in FY2018.

While the original stories were developed by the Trinity Pictures Writers’ Room, creative teams from both Trinity Pictures and the Chinese film companies have worked closely on the scripts to create storylines that blend Sino–Indian culture. The films will be shot across India and China with major parts of Kabir Khan’s ‘The Zookeeper’ shot in Chengdu while Siddharth Anand’s ‘Love in Beijing’ will be shot in Beijing and its suburbs.

Commenting on the co-productions, Eros International Group CEO Jyoti Deshpande said, “We continue to establish our dominant global distribution network including entry into the Chinese market. We believe China to be a significant market opportunity for Indian films. Following our co-production treaties last year, we are proud to announce the first of our joint productions going into production soon. With Trinity, we also want to tell stories that transcend the language barrier and have mainstream appeal. We believe our Indo–China co-productions will be game-changing as we pave the way to open up one of the largest film markets in the world.”

Trinity Pictures CEO Ajit Thakur added, “It’s a revolutionary milestone for Indian cinema as Eros’ Trinity Pictures becomes the first Indian studio to collaborate with China’s Huaxia Film Distribution Co Ltd and Peacock Mountain Culture & Media Ltd and deliver our vision for a truly global film. Having two acclaimed directors like Kabir Khan and Siddharth Anand on board with us is a big leap towards opening one of the biggest and the fastest-growing film markets in the world. With these co-productions being shot in both languages, we hope to present compelling film content, weaving in the sociocultural worlds of both countries, which should appeal to the massive Sino–Indian market.”

Last year, Eros International had signed memorandums with leading Chinese state-owned film companies China Film Group Corp, Shanghai Film Group and Fudan University for the exploitation of intellectual property rights as well as to develop, co-produce and distribute Indo–China films across all platforms in both countries during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s state visit to China.

As per PwC Outlook 2016, China is expected to overtake the US box office in 2016 growing to $10.3 billion.

In 2015, the box office grew to $6.3 billion, marking a 49% year-on-year growth. In comparison, the US box office is expected to contract from $10.3 billion to $10 billion next year, with Hollywood’s share of the Chinese box office slipping to 38.4% in 2015 from 45.5% in 2014.

In early 2014, China had just under 19,000 screens and, by the end of 2015, that number grew to almost 32,000. Overall, China is propelling Asia-Pacific’s growth (including Indonesia and Malaysia), with box-office revenue across Asia-Pacific expected to grow to $21.11 billion by 2020 and continue to emerge as important growth markets for Bollywood.

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