China's Biggest Film Company Invests in 2 Legendary Movies

China's Biggest Film Company Invests in 2 Legendary Movies

China Film Co. takes a stake in “Seventh Son” and “Warcraft,” building on last year's deal between the two firms

China Film Co. will invest eight figures in two upcoming Legendary Entertainment feature films, “Seventh Son” and “Warcraft,” the two companies said Monday.

It's the first time China Film Co., that country's leading content producer and distributor, has taken a stake in a Hollywood film. Both of the big-budget movies will be released by Universal Pictures — “Seventh Son” on Feb. 6, 2015, and “Warcraft” on March 11, 2016.

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The deal builds on last May's multi-year agreement between China Film Co. and Legendary to jointly produce tentpole movies. That deal called for the two companies to fund the development and production of multiple pictures over an initial three-year term. As part of the new agreement, China Film Co. will be credited on these films, and its equity recouped, on a worldwide basis.

“These investments are an important step in the evolution of our partnership with China Film Co., Ltd.,” said Thomas Tull, founder and chief executive at Legendary Entertainment.

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Both movies are fantasy action epics, with significant production budgets.

Jeff Bridges, Ben Barnes, Julianne Moore and Alicia Vikander star in “Seventh Son,” which is directed by Sergei Bodrov. It's an 18th century adventure story centered on a young man learning to fight evil spirits and is based on the book “The Spook's Apprentice” by Joseph Delaney, who is co-writing the screenplay.

“Warcraft” is based on Blizzard Entertainment's popular video game “World of Warcraft.” It's co-written and directed by Duncan Jones and stars Ben Foster, Dominic Cooper, Travis Fimmel and Paula Patton. The fantasy film follows orcs, dragons, zombies, werewolves and elves in a medieval-like setting.

Legendary worked with then-partner Warner Brothers to drive last year's release in China of Guillermo del Toro‘s “Pacific Rim,” which grossed a remarkable $115 million in the territory, China is now the top theatrical market outside of North America, generating an estimated $3.6 billion in ticket sales in 2013.