Former Fox marketing executive Al Ovadia is heading production and marketing company Los Angeles Beijing Studios (LABS), which has sealed a $300m joint venture with Shenzhen-based fund Hotland Film Ventures.
Based in LA and with offices in Beijing, Shanghai and Taipei, the company aims to contribute to the integration of the China and North American movies markets through co-productions, merchandising and franchising.
LABS has a strategic joint venture with start-up fund Hotland Film Ventures, worth more than $300m, for the company’s initial China-US co-production funding. Headed by Zhang Hongwei, Hotland has backing from Shenzhen Ventures, Beijing Film Academy and the Youth Film Studio in Beijing.
Ovadia previously headed Fox’s licensing department and launched Fox Interactive. He then worked at Sony Pictures as executive vice president of consumer products.
The LABS team also includes Taiwan-based producer Steve Chicorel, US producer Frank Marshall (Who Framed Roger Rabbit?), Funtoons Animation head Greg Manwaring, legal counsel Steven J. Pena and production chief Sriram Das.
“We believe that the LABS model of integrating merchandising and licensing beginning as early as the script stage will impact US-China co-productions artistically and financially,” said Ovadia.
“This high level of complex engagement and early commitment, bonding story and consumer products, doesn’t currently exist in the Chinese film industry, and is a rarity in Hollywood.”