Cinedigm CEO Chris McGurk says that it no longer makes sense for his company to distribute films theatrically with bigger competitors like Netflix and Amazon now dominating the indie market. That’s why the company has now taken a new direction, becoming a digital distribution group with a focus on China even as it continues to focus on the indie marketplace.
McGurk recently spoke with TheWrap CEO/Editor-in-Chief Sharon Waxman at Sundance about the new move, and what the future holds for indie distribution and Hollywood’s relationship with China.
“We’re principally looking to buy U.S. and Chinese rights for probably five theatricals,” said McGurk when asked about Cinedigm’s new approach to the indie marketplace. “Beyond that, we’ll probably release 50-100 films for home distribution in China.”
When asked about why he thinks deals between Hollywood and China have slowed down, McGurk pins the majority of the blame on the Legendary/Wanda deal that ended up costing Wanda millions, though he feels that Cinedigm was able to make their deal happen because of the hundreds of millions of dollars provided by Chinese investors to fill a distribution niche in the country’s media market.
“I think that deal kind of became an embarrassment for the Chinese government that they allowed [the Legendary deal] to happen, and that immediately rang a lot of alarm bells and raised the standard for a lot of media deals down the road.”
See McGurk’s full remarks in the clip above.