Legendary Entertainment is doubling up its efforts to cater to a worldwide audience and expand into China with the formation of Legendary East, the film production company announced late Wednesday.
The new company, a co-venture with Chinese film conglomerate Huayi Brothers Media Corp., will be based in Hong Kong. Warner Bros., which currently co-produces and co-finances Legendary's current slate of pictures, will handle distribution.
Legendary East initially plans to produce one to two major, event style films for worldwide audiences annually beginning in 2013. Event films have been extremely lucrative for Legendary, which played a major role in financing such four quadrant films as "The Dark Knight" and "The Hangover."
Legendary Chairman and CEO Thomas Tull partnered with Hong Kong media and finance entrepreneur Kelvin Wu to create the company's new arm. The company's films will be developed and produced as co-productions with Huayi Brothers, who will distribute the movies in China.
“Legendary Entertainment is committed to building a long-term presence in China and the surrounding region by becoming part of both the rapidly growing world-class filmmaking community and its media and business economy," Tull said in a statement.
The Legendary East senior executive team will be comprised of Tull, who will serve as executive chairman; Wu, who will act as the company's CEO; and Joel Chang, who will be its chief financial officer.
Goldman, Sachs & Co. and Centerview Partners LLC advised on the deal.