Provincial broadcaster will be funding 25% of Lionsgate’s $1.5bn film and TV production slate, excluding The Hunger Games and Divergent franchises.
China’s Hunan TV is providing Lionsgate Entertainment with production financing of $375m as part of a wider three-year deal.
The powerful provincial broadcaster will be funding 25% of Lionsgate’s $1.5bn film and TV production slate, although its understood that the Hunger Games and Divergent franchises will be excluded from the deal.
In addition, Lionsgate will distribute some of Hunan’s Chinese-language films outside the US and the two companies are also expected to work on US-China co-productions aimed at the China market.
The deal, first signalled by Hunan TV in a stock exchange filing in January, will be officially announced at a press conference in Changsha, capital of China’s Hunan province, on March 18.
Among those in attendance will be Lionsgate chief executive Jon Feltheimer, co-COO Brian Goldsmith, Summit Entertainment co-chairman Patrick Wachsberger and Lionsgate international sales chief, Wendy Reeds.
In addition to releasing its Hunger Games and Divergent films in China, Lionsgate is already partnered with Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba on a streaming venture, Lionsgate Entertainment World. It is also an investor in Hong Kong-based Celestial Tiger Entertainment (CTE), which operates a bouquet of channels across the region.
The Hunan deal marks the third major investment by a Chinese company into the US entertainment sector in recent years. Dalian Wanda Group invested $2.6bn in exhibitor AMC Entertainment in 2012, while Shanghai-based Fosun International is pumping $200m into Jeff Robinov’s start-up Studio 8.
Hunan TV broadcasts some of China’s most popular programming including national singing competition Super Girl, reality show Where Are We Going, Dad? and costume dramas Palace and The Empress Of China.