Chinese company to give Dick Cook Studios $500m for movies

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

BEIJING (AP) — A private film company in eastern China has agreed to invest at least $500 million in the studio of former Walt Disney boss Dick Cook to make movies to be distributed worldwide, the companies announced.

The deal is the latest tie-up between Hollywood and Chinese companies as China offers overseas producers more investment opportunities and both look to increase their presence in each other's film industries.

Los Angeles-based Dick Cook Studios and Film Carnival, a film producer and distributor located in Zhejiang province, announced the deal in a statement Tuesday.

Film Carnival will finance 100 percent of the movies developed, produced, distributed and marketed by Dick Cook Studios. The Los Angeles-based company will also help Film Carnival produce its own movies in China.

The first movie will be "Ranger's Apprentice," based on a book series and set to begin production in fall 2016. Paul Haggis, who wrote "Million Dollar Baby" and "Crash," will direct the movie, and he also wrote the screenplay along with his daughter, Alissa Sullivan Haggis.

Former Walt Disney Studios chairman Cook established his own company last year with a $150 million investment from CITIC Guoan, a unit of state-owned conglomerate CITIC Group, to make family entertainment.

Last week, he partnered with CITIC Guoan and the Beijing Film Academy to host the first China-U.S. Motion Picture Summit. The one-day conference near Beijing brought together Chinese and Hollywood producers, scriptwriters and others for panel discussions and networking.