Following the enormous success of the Kung Fu Panda franchise in China, DreamWorks Animation has formed a joint venture to establish a family entertainment company in Shanghai.
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Oriental DreamWorks will not only develop and produce animated content for the Chinese market; the company also has plans to explore other areas of family entertainment including live action movies, interactive games, mobile and online platforms and consumer products with a view to exporting from Shanghai. In addition an Oriental DreamWorks theme park may also be in the pipeline.
The joint venture brings together China Media Capital, Shanghai Media Group and Shanghai Alliance Investment, Ltd. Initial capital is from cash and intellectual property valued at $330 million, with 45% of the company owned by DreamWorks Animation.
The announcement came within hours of the news that China have agreed to allow more access for US movies from the current quota of just 20 a year.
However, Head of DreamWorks Animation Jeffrey Katzenberg told AFP that the Oriental DreamWorks joint venture is much more in line with the Chinese Government’s strategy for their media sector: “What they most want to achieve is to create their own family-branded entertainment company”. A key element of the joint venture will involve DreamWorks Animation providing training both in the US and China. With the Chinese market continuing to expand rapidly the benefits of establishing a brand as early as possible are huge.
Katzenberg says that Oriental DreamWorks will be producing projects that are essentially “Chinese in their DNA”. The first Oriental DreamWorks film is set for release in 2016.