Hong Kong’s Orange Sky Golden Harvest (OSGH) is forging a partnership with LA-based Legendary Pictures to work on film and media ventures in mainland China.

As part of the deal, OSGH’s has acquired a 3.3% stake in Legendary for $25m and has been given one seat on Legendary’s six-person board of directors.  

In a regulatory filing to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, OSGH said it has signed a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) under which the two parties intend to jointly explore the co-production of Chinese-language films for the China market, the development of online, mobile and video games, and ventures related to OSGH’s theatrical distribution activities in China.

The deal would make OSGH the “preferred partner of Legendary” under which it will be offered the first right to negotiate and the right to match with respect to Legendary’s commercial ventures in China”.

OSGH said in the filing that: “Given the uncertainty of returns in connection with film production and financing, the company has considered that investing in an international studio with a proven track record is a commercially viable business model.”

OSGH was founded in 2005 by Beijing-based Wu Kebo as a production and distribution company – initially known by its Chinese name, Chengtian – focused on Chinese content. Among the films it has invested in are John Woo’s two-part war epic Red Cliff and the Pang Brothers’ The Storm Warriors, released at the end of last year.

In 2009, Chengtian completed its takeover of Hong Kong’s Golden Harvest Entertainment which had withdrawn from production but owned the region’s largest cinema circuit. The acquisition gave Chengtian a listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

The company, which changed its name to Orange Sky Golden Harvest, ramped up its production and distribution activities and currently operates 29 multiplexes with 229 screens across mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore.

Legendary raised $1bn in 2007 to co-finance films with Warner Bros such as Inception, Clash Of The Titans, The Dark Knight, 300 and The Hangover. Upcoming projects include Warcraft, with Sam Raimi attached to direct, a sequel to The Hangover to shoot in Thailand and an English-language version of popular Japanese franchise Godzilla.