Hollywood woos China
Silicon Valley arrived here first, bearing technology and business plans. Now Hollywood is swooning over this rising economic empire in the East.
At a recent art gallery event of film industry glitterati, producer David Lee worked the crowd with Hollywood flare — greeting friends and strangers with hugs, posing for photos, mingling with the champagne-sipping guests.
“I want to be the Jerry Bruckheimer of China,” said Lee, a former executive at the American film company Weinstein Company, referring to the prolific action blockbuster film and TV producer. As managing director of Beijing-based Xinhua Media, he has just completed a dark comedy, “Inseparable,” that stars American actor Kevin Spacey but was financed by a local Chinese backer and shot in China.
Many Western film executives once dismissed China and its tightly-regulated film industry with a Hollywood brush-off — “Don’t call me, I’ll call you.” But now the mood is “Let’s do lunch.” That has changed. Lee and other film industry executives, actors and production crews have descended on China in search of the latest outsized opportunity.