Village Roadshow Entertainment Group (VREG) has unveiled details of its new China operation, including a slew of partnerships and projects with talent including Zhang Ziyi and Stephen Chow [pictured].
Headed by former Warner Bros China executive Ellen Eliasoph, the new venture Village Roadshow Entertainment Group Asia (VREG Asia) will be involved in production and a wide range of infrastructure-building activities in the fast-developing Chinese film market.
Projects include pan-Asian romantic comedy My Lucky Star, starring and produced by Zhang Ziyi, and directed by US filmmaker Dennie Gordon (30 Rock). VREG Asia will co-produce with Beijing-based Dadi Media.
The new outfit is also co-producing Journey To The West, co-directed by Stephen Chow and Derek Kwok, with Bill Kong’s Edko Films and Chow’s Bingo Group. It has also formed a partnership with Chen Daming, who recently directed the Chinese version of What Women Want. As previously reported by Screen, the company is also co-financing Keanu Reeves’ directorial debut Man Of Tai Chi with China Film Group and Chinese exhibition group Wanda.
VREG Asia will work with its Chinese investment partners, most of which are licensed distributors, to release its productions in the China market. Films will be released under the Village Roadshow Pictures Asia (VRPA) label. The outfit is also working with overseas partners on the international distribution of the slate, with details to be announced soon.
In addition to financing, development and production, VREG Asia will also be involved in areas such as film marketing, market research and visual effects.
To this end, VREG Asia has also formed strategic alliances with Australian VFX and animation company Animal Logic, US marketing giant Cimarron Group and market research company Screen Engine.
“As a global entertainment company that operates across all areas of the film and music industry, we are making state-of-the-art resources available to our partners in China,” said Greg Basser, CEO of VREG in Los Angeles. “We are honoured to join forces with local and international partners to develop and produce movie projects, and to become a participant in the Chinese film industry.”
Other key members of the VREG Asia team include executive vice president of development and production Ming “Beaver” Kwei and vice president, marketing and distribution, Lizhi Chen.