Relativity Deepens Push Into China With 3 New Deals

It will distribute Chinese-language films in U.S., team with top broadcaster for content and lands new investment partner

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Relativity Media will be the international distribution partner for Chinese-language films licensed by China Film Promotion International, a state-owned government agency that oversees the distribution of Chinese films overseas.

The partnership was announced Monday at the Shanghai International Film Festival.

Relativity also said its is teaming with Jiangsu Broadcasting Corp. to develop, co-finance, co-produce and distribute film and TV content for both the international and Chinese markets.

It also signed a strategic advisory agreement with Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Limited and SeedShine Capital, a Chinese investment firm focused on the media and entertainment sector, has entered into a binding agreement to invest in Relativity.

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“The partnerships will further strengthen the robust foundation we have built in China,” said Ryan Kavanaugh, CEO of Relativity.

Relativity’s existing presence in China is underpinned by its ownership of SkyLand Entertainment, a film distribution and financing company headquartered in Beijing. Originally launched as a joint venture between Relativity, IDG China Media Fund and SAIF Partners, SkyLand is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Relativity and maintains a close strategic relationship with the government-run distributor Huaxia Film Distribution Co.

The currently-titled “Imperial Consort Yang” is expected to be the first film that Relativity will distribute in the U.S. in partnership with CFPI. This Chinese epic romance war film is directed by Cheng Shiqing and features Fan Bingbing, Leon Lai, Wu Chun and Joan Chen.

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In 2013, box office revenues in China grew 27 percent over the prior year to $3.6 billion, making China the first international market to exceed $3 billion in box office.

Recent Relativity films released in China include “Immortals,” “Mirror Mirror” and “Free Birds.”