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ENTERTAINMENT
October 2, 2011 | By John Horn, Los Angeles Times
Born in northern China and raised in Beijing, Sally Liu came of age in the 1990s and dreamed of becoming a filmmaker. With the world's most populous nation swelling with thousands of new cinemas, big-budget productions proliferating and box-office grosses multiplying, the movies in China aren't just glamorous, they're a serious growth industry. When it came time to apply to film school, though, Liu didn't look to China's most prominent institution, the Beijing Film Academy. The competition is fierce — the academy accepts only 500 students each year from among 100,000 applicants, making it about 140 times harder to attend than Harvard University.
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BUSINESS
April 25, 2014 | By Julie Makinen
BEIJING - DMG Entertainment, the Beijing-based company that co-produced Hollywood films including "Iron Man 3" and "Transcendence," is in the process of going public on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange. The move will see DMG enter the exchange through a reverse takeover with meat-processing company Sichuan Gaojin Foods. The deal still needs regulatory approval. According to DMG and Sichuan Gaojin, the deal values DMG at $970 million. That's three times the value of Gaojin at the end of 2013.
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ENTERTAINMENT
September 22, 2012 | By Clarissa Sebag-Montefiore and John Horn, Los Angeles Times
BEIJING - Every movie project involves a certain amount of negotiation, but finding middle ground proved no easy matter when writer-director Daniel Hsia tried to film "Shanghai Calling" in China. To secure permission to make his story about a Chinese American lawyer relocated to the country's largest city, Hsia exchanged numerous screenplay drafts with China's censors. The government's film production arm, China Film, which co-produced the movie, wanted to make sure that Shanghai was depicted as an efficient modern metropolis, that locals were shown as "kind and hospitable," that the visiting lawyer comes to appreciate the country by the film's conclusion and that a plot about piracy would be rewritten into more of a business misunderstanding, Hsia said.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 13, 2014 | David Ng
"The Grandmaster," Wong Kar Wai's period martial-arts movie starring Tony Leung and Zhang Ziyi, was the big winner at the 33rd Hong Kong Film Awards on Sunday, taking home 12 prizes including the statuette for best picture. Wong won the prize for director, his third such honor at the annual ceremony and his first since "Chungking Express" in 1994. Zhang won best actress, but Leung, who plays the martial-arts legend Ip Man, lost out to Nick Cheung, who won for the mixed martial-arts movie "Unbeatable.
ENTERTAINMENT
August 24, 2011 | By Ben Fritz and John Horn, Los Angeles Times
China bought $91.9-billion worth of U.S. goods last year, including boatloads of medical devices, precious metals and electrical equipment. But when it comes to America's most celebrated cultural export - Hollywood movies - crossing China's borders has proved more difficult than climbing the Great Wall. After years of frustration with the Chinese government's severe limits on how many imported movies can play in its theaters, several prominent American film producers are cutting ambitious deals with Chinese firms that provide alternative routes into the country's exploding movie market.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 20, 2011 | By John Horn, Los Angeles Times
For years, Chinese films shown in U.S. theaters have fallen into two distinct camps, both driven by largely white patrons: martial-arts movies for young men, such as Jet Li's "Hero," or critically acclaimed art-house fare, such as Kaige Chen's "Farewell My Concubine. " Only rarely has a movie conquered both blocs, as did Ang Lee's "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. " "The Butcher, the Chef and the Swordsman," a Mandarin-language action comedy that hit U.S. screens this weekend, is a bit of a different animal — it has sword fights but also a music video, hand-drawn animation, slapstick jokes, split screens, black-and-white photography, opera, a video game and even a point-of-view shot from the eyes of a decapitated warrior.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 11, 2012 | By Clarissa Sebag-Montefiore, Special to the Los Angeles Times
Raymond Zhou became China's most famous film critic by happenstance. It was 2001, and his work as the editor in chief of a bilingual high-tech website in Silicon Valley had been halved. With extra time on his hands, and unemployment looming, Zhou started writing Western-style movie reviews and sending them back to his home country. The casual, chatty and accessible style — then utterly new to China, where musty academic film criticism was the norm — was a hit. Over the year, Zhou reviewed about 100 new films, from Ridley Scott's "Black Hawk Down" to Steven Spielberg's "A.I.
ENTERTAINMENT
July 3, 2011 | By Steven Zeitchik and David Pierson, Los Angeles Times
When the Chow Yun-fat action-comedy epic "Let the Bullets Fly" opened in China last year, it quickly became a phenomenon. Lured by its splashy fight scenes and whip-snap dialogue, filmgoers swarmed theaters. The movie wound up taking in more than $100 million at the box office in China, the most for a homegrown film. Yet despite its Hollywood-style violence and an actor with international name recognition, "Let the Bullets Fly" hasn't even managed to find a distributor in the United States.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 22, 2011 | By Dan Levin and John Horn, Los Angeles Times
Poking around a pirate DVD shop down the block from the Apple Store in central Beijing one recent afternoon on her lunch break, Zhou Xin eyed the floor-to-ceiling selection of Oscar-nominated films, indie flicks and B-movies such as "Nude Nuns With Big Guns" before grabbing a sleek copy of "Black Swan," complete with a blurb in English and Mandarin, for closer inspection. "It looks creepy," said the 26-year-old, who works in public relations. She replaced it on the shelf and picked up "The Social Network," which she purchased for eight yuan, or about $1.22.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 6, 2013 | By Clarissa Sebag-Montefiore
HONG KONG - When Mabel Cheung, one of this city's leading directors, shot her historical-political drama "The Soong Sisters" in China in the mid-1990s, the nature of the exchange for the co-production was simple: Beijing provided inexpensive manpower, and professionals from the British colony's highly developed movie industry provided the expertise. Hong Kong cinema, after all, had been enjoying a golden age for close to two decades - celebrated directors such as John Woo and Wong Kar-wai had helped the city's filmmakers garner a global fan base.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 12, 2014 | Julie Makinen
BEIJING -- China's box office has made its first $1 billion for the year, crossing the mark in the week that ended Sunday with some help from “Robocop.” Year-to-date box office receipts for the mainland -- the world's second biggest movie market behind the United States -- now stands at $1.03 billion for 2014, film industry consulting firm Artisan Gateway said, a pace significantly ahead of 2013. “Robocop,” Jose Padilha's remake of Paul Verhoeven's 1987 futuristic dystopia classic, took in $21.5 million in its second week in release, claiming the top spot.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 11, 2014 | Julie Makinen
BEIJING -- Director-producer John Woo will head up the jury at the fourth annual Beijing International Film Festival , which kicks off April 16, organizers said. Woo, 67, is the Hong Kong helmer of films including "Mission: Impossible II," "A Better Tomorrow," "Red Cliff" and "Face/Off. " The weeklong festival will hold screenings at some 30 theaters throughout China's capital. The international jury will hand out the Tiantan Awards in 10 categories, including best feature, director, actor, actress, cinematography and screenplay.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 6, 2014 | Daniel Miller and Julie Makinen
Beijing-based film production company Huayi Brothers Media Corp. plans to invest up to $150 million in a new movie company from Jeff Robinov, the former president of Warner Bros. Pictures Group. The deal would be one of the highest-profile partnerships between Chinese and Hollywood film entities. Robinov departed Warner Bros. in the summer of 2013 after leading Hollywood's biggest movie studio since 2007.  Huayi Brothers said in a statement that it would invest $120 million to $150 million in Robinov's Studio 8, and distribute the company's movies in China.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 4, 2014 | Julie Makinen
BEIJING -- The Chinese Film “Black Coal, Thin Ice,” which took home the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival last month, has cleared censorship and will arrive in mainland theaters March 21. But the question now hanging over director Diao Yinan's noirish tale is: Will anyone go see it? At a press conference last week unveiling new posters for the film, Diao was peppered with questions from Chinese reporters, asking him whether the festival win would brand the movie as “too artistic” and scare off prospective viewers.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 26, 2014 | Julie Makinen
BEIJING -- Not even two months into 2014, China's box office has topped $900 million, a blistering pace far ahead of last year, when receipts for the entire first quarter were about $830 million. The strong results are being powered by a number of films, including “The Monkey King,” which in the week that ended Sunday became only the fifth film to cross the 1-billion-renminbi milestone at the mainland box office, consulting firm Artisan Gateway said. That puts “Monkey” in rare company.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 25, 2014 | Julie Makinen
BEIJING -- Smog seems to have helped Smaug at the Chinese box office this last weekend. "The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug," raked in about $33.7 million from Friday to Sunday, consulting firm Artisan Gateway said Tuesday, putting it in first place. Intense air pollution covering much of northern China may have helped drive patrons to theaters, as the government advised people to limit outdoor activities. "Smaug" far outperformed the opening weekend of director Peter Jackson's first installment in the Warner Bros.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 30, 2013 | By Julie Makinen
It would be easy for Feng Xiaogang to rest on his laurels. After all, the Chinese film director has churned out a string of wildly popular comedies, made China's first Imax movie, "Aftershock," and is now in the Oscar hunt for the second time with the drama "Back to 1942," which received a limited release in the U.S. a year ago. A real-life story of war and famine that killed millions, it is the country's entry for 2014's best foreign film. ("Aftershock" was China's selection three years ago.)
BUSINESS
November 28, 2012 | By Richard Verrier, Los Angeles Times
AMC, the nation's second-largest cinema chain, is opening its first Southern California dine-in movie theater, taking the concept of dinner and a movie to a new level. Set to open Monday, the remodeled AMC Dine-In Theatres Marina 6 is the 11th dine-in theater that the Kansas City, Mo., chain has opened around the country since its first location debuted in 2008 in an affluent Atlanta district. The refurbished location, on the second floor of a shopping center at Maxella and Glencoe avenues in Marina del Rey, features six auditoriums for adults only.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 3, 2014 | By Julie Makinen
BEIJING - Mainland China's lunar new year holiday box office got off to a sizzling start this weekend, with an expensive, effects-heavy 3-D telling of “The Monkey King” and a movie based on a hit reality TV show about celebrity dads and their kids taking in a combined $90 million. “The Monkey King,” starring Chow Yun Fat, Aaron Kwok and Donnie Yen, raked in more than $51.1 million (306 million yuan) in its first three days in theaters, data from box-office tracking service EntGroup showed.
BUSINESS
January 1, 2014 | By Julie Makinen
BEIJING - China's movie box office topped $3.6 billion in 2013, up about 27% over 2012, with home-grown fare drawing particularly large crowds and driving down Hollywood's share of the market. Seven of the 10 highest-grossing films were Chinese, data from box office analysis firms Artisan Gateway and EntGroup showed Tuesday. In first place was Stephen Chow's action-comedy "Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons," which took in about $207 million. Three Hollywood films made the top 10. "Iron Man 3," also the top box-office performer in the U.S., made $124 million for second place.
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