Headlines from China: 80% of Movie Theme Parks Are Losing Money

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80% of Movie Theme Parks Are Losing Money in China

Recently, Great Wall Movie and Television Co, a listed Chinese entertainment group, announced that it would sell its wholly owned film studio and theme park at 300 million yuan. Before 2018, movie theme park was a trendy sector that many top film companies, such as Huayi Brothers, Beijing Enlight Media and Wanda Pictures, were eager to tap into. Today, however, Huayi Brothers is slowing down the development and launch of new theme parks; Beijing Enlight Media hasn’t made much progress after signing partnership agreements with several local governments to develop theme parks; And Wanda Group has just sold its cultural and tourism projects, including the Qingdao Movie Metropolis. Industry experts point out that Chinese movie companies are becoming increasingly cautious about the theme park business, as it takes a long time to see financial return. In addition, the Chinese real estate market is relatively unstable at the moment, which has also discouraged many companies from investing more in the theme park business. According to research data from Peking University, only 5% of movie studios and theme parks are able to make a profit. About 15% can breakeven. And the remaining 80% are losing money. Read more on entgroup.cn

‘The New King of Comedy’ Unhappy With Its Screen Share

Recently, Union Pictures, the distributor of Stephen Chow’s latest film The New King of Comedy, submitted a request to China Film Group, asking CFG to disallow over 70 movie theaters to show the film during its upcoming release. According to sources familiar with the matter, the reason behind the request was that Union Pictures was unhappy with the numbers of screens given to the The New King of Comedy by these movie theaters. This year’s Chinese new year season is rather competitive with eight films opening on Chinese new year’s Day, which makes it extra challenging for movie theaters to allocate screens to each film. As of now, Han Han’s Pegasus is given 22.7% of all the screens. Ning Hao’s Crazy Alien receives 20.6% and The New King of Comedy gets 19.2%. However, presale data shows that The New King of Comedy has the highest attendance per screening. Read more on Mtime

These Companies Were Affected by Celebrity Scandals in 2018

A few years ago, China saw a wave of mergers and acquisitions that involve celebrities or celebrity-owned companies. Top entertainment firms are eager to win over bankable stars while the stars are eager to cash in their fame. However, as China’s financial regulators tightened control over celebrity-involved mergers and acquisitions, collaborating with celebrities is not the way to grab quick cash in the stock market anymore. And the recent high-profile scandals of top celebrities and their negative effects on related companies make investors even more cautious about entertainment firms that highly rely on a celebrity’s fame and resources. To name a few, Fan Bingbing’s fall from grace led to significant drop of stock prices of Huayi Brothers and Talent Television & Film Co.; The recent Wu Xiubo scandal has affected Wu’s talent agency Top High Entertainment and Culture (喜天影视), the investors (Wanda Pictures and China Literature) of his latest film Someone Like It Hot 2, and a few other companies that Wu invested in. A lesser known example is Giant Jump Entertainment, which is co-founded by music duo Chen Yufan and Hu Haiquan. As Chen Yufan was arrested for drug-related charges in 2018, the company’s journey to launch an IPO becomes a lot more challenging. Read more on TMT Post

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