| March 7
March 7 Walt Disney Studios has signed an
agreement with Shanghai Media Group Pictures to develop
Disney-branded movies, the latest move by a U.S. studio to grow
its presence in China's entertainment business.
U.S.-based writers will team up with local writers and
filmmakers to develop stories and scripts that incorporate
Chinese themes in Disney movies, the studio said in a statement.
The studio said the multi-year partnership with Shanghai
Media will expand training opportunities between Chinese and
American writers and filmmakers.
Tony To, the studio's executive vice president of
production, will oversee the co-development program, which could
allow for easier releases of English-language films in China.
A 37-member Film Censorship Committee vets every movie in
China for nudity, violence and politically sensitive scenes.
Western films in addition must meet the committee's "amendment
opinions" to be one of the 34 Hollywood films permitted in China
Last year, Disney's superhero film "Iron Man 3" debuted in
China and included a top Chinese actress and footage shot in
China, additions that helped the film ease past strict censors
and often confusing rules for Western films.
In February, the official Xinhua news agency reported that
China will maintain its quota for imported Hollywood movies this
year, rejecting reports it had planned to increase access for
U.S. films to the world's second-largest cinema market.
Production companies like Viacom Inc's Paramount
Picture and DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc have hired
Chinese actors and set up co-productions with Chinese firms.
China's entertainment and media market is estimated to grow
to $148 billion by 2015 from around $120 billion in 2013,
according to PricewaterhouseCoopers' outlook for the global
entertainment and media business 2011-2015.
In 2012, Disney was named founding partner of a National
Chinese Animation Creative Research and Development Project -
an initiative to advance China's animation industry and train
local talent and promote the development of Chinese content and
Walt Disney Co and BesTV New Media, the
digital media unit of the Shanghai Media Group, formed a joint
venture in China in December 2013, to provide entertainment
using both companies' technical and marketing expertise.