Hollywood Reporter: China’s Richest Man Plots Aggressive Push Into Hollywood

Dalian Wanda Group chairman Wang Jianlin, the richest man in China, is already well underway to controlling a large portion of the Hollywood entertainment industry in America. His company already has acquired a majority stake in AMC Cinemas, America’s largest theater chain, and recently laid out $3.5 billion to purchase production studio Legendary Entertainment.

In a feature for the Hollywood Reporter, Wang says he hopes to acquire one of the six major Hollywood studios. But for now, the man known in Hollywood simply as “The Chairman” is content to invest heavily in feature production slates at all six of those studios.

THR‘s report comes on the heels of a letter to the Department of Justice last month urging the agency to increase its scrutiny of major Chinese investments in Hollywood. In the letter, Rep. John Culberson (R-TX) raised concerns that significant Chinese investment in major entertainment production outfits “may be used for propaganda purposes.”

From the Hollywood Reporter:

Wang Jianlin, China’s richest man, normally doesn’t go to the movies. He does, however, make one exception — for his 90-year-old mother. Their trips to the cinema are the rare occasions each year when the notoriously driven chairman of Chinese real estate conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group fully checks out from work.

“I won’t be disturbed at all,” he says emphatically. “Because the time is to be spent with my mom. Filial piety is an important Chinese virtue.”

This may come as a surprise to Hollywood. After all, Wang has aggressively — some might say relentlessly — positioned himself at the forefront of China’s unprecedented push into the U.S. entertainment sector. After splashing out $2.6 billion for the acquisition of North American theater chain AMC Entertainment in 2012, Wanda methodically has picked off acquisition targets at various links in the entertainment value chain — from movie houses to a $3.5 billion deal for Burbank-based studio Legendary Entertainment to distribution, theme parks, digital marketing, merchandising and the pending $1 billion acquisition of Dick Clark Productions (owned by THR‘s parent company) — not to mention building the world’s largest film studio, for $8.2 billion, on China’s northeast coast.

Wang also has made no secret of his desire to own a major American studio. But rather than wait idly for one of the majors to make itself amenable to a takeover (he openly expressed interest in acquiring a majority stake in Paramount), Wang has, in characteristic fashion, decided to take aggressive action now. He is preparing to establish a new multibillion-dollar investment fund to pour capital into the film slates of all six major Hollywood studios.

“I wanted to acquire one of the big six, but whether we can is a different story — it’s uncertain,” Wang tells me matter-of-factly one October afternoon in Beijing as we sit in a huge boardroom on the 20th floor of his corporate headquarters.

 

Read the full story at The Hollywood Reporter.


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