The Chinese government is expected to announce later this week that a second theatrical distribution licence will be awarded to China National Culture & Art Corporation (CNCAC).
The move would effectively break up the monopoly held by China Film Group (CFG) and Huaxia Film Distribution in the theatrical distribution of US and other foreign films.
China agreed to bring in other companies to distribute foreign movies when the annual import quota was expanded to 34 revenue-sharing films at the beginning of 2012. However, it was widely thought at the time that some private companies might win a licence to distribute revenue-sharing films.
The state-backed CNCAC, which is under China’s Ministry of Culture, currently imports foreign theatre, arts events, concerts and music into China. China’s Ministry of Propaganda is expected to make an announcement to Chinese press about the new licence on Thursday.
CFC recently underwent a change in top management with former Film Bureau deputy director La Peikang taking over following the retirement of chairman Han Sanping.
It’s not known whether the existing 34-film quota will be expanded again or split between CFG and CNCAC.