Akin Gump entertainment and media partner Chris Spicer was interviewed by Metropolitan Corporate Counsel for the article “Making Cross-Border Movie Magic: U.S.-China film deals present opportunities and challenges.”
Among the topics covered by Spicer:
China film deals: “Traditionally, what Hollywood insiders were looking for in relation to China was the possibility of money coming into the U.S. for exploitation in the U.S. film market. What we’ve seen recently is a flip: Various investors – those from China and the U.S., and other investors around the globe – are seeing what a huge market China is.”
The Chinese film market: “[A] lot of people will do things specifically to make a film more appropriate for the Chinese market, whether by editing particular cuts of a film or re-creating the film altogether. The first example I saw of this that really resonated with me was when we worked on a film called Looper…[S]omeone was going to stop his life of crime, retire and move to France. They changed that place, they built it into the film, and some old guy who had seen the future tells the person, ‘No, no, no. You really want to retire in China, not in France.’ Then, the place they end up going is China, and they filmed a portion of the film in China. Pretty early on, a Chinese company made a fairly significant investment in that film.
Challenges in the Chinese market: “The biggest challenge I see is you really do need partners who understand the business in China – they need to understand how production works there, how the legal process works. For the Chinese companies that I think have been successful in investing in the United States – the [Chinese film industry companies] Wandas [Wanda Film Holdings Co.] of the world and the Bonas [Bona Film Group Ltd.] – they have U.S. partners who are familiar with bringing product from China to the United States and can explain to them how processes in the United States, and investments and deals, might work differently than in China.”
To read the full interview, please click here.