Jeff Robinov's new film company is getting a major investment from a Shanghai-based conglomerate, in the latest high-profile partnership between Chinese and Hollywood film companies.
Chinese investment firm Fosun International Limited said Sunday it has signed a deal to invest in Robinov's Studio 8.
Fosun said in a regulatory filing the same day that the pact will give it "significant influence" over the distribution of Studio 8's movies in China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. The company said it had entered the agreement on June 6.
The partnership will help Robinov, the former president of Warner Bros. Pictures Group., take advantage of the booming Chinese film market, which is now the world's second largest behind North America. Fosun said in a statement that it expects China to surpass the U.S. "in the next few years."
"Our partnership will combine the resources of China and Hollywood to build a global platform not only focusing on movie and entertainment investment, but also aiming to integrate our resources around the world,” Guo Guangchang, chairman of Fosun Group, said in a statement.
Fosun's business dealings span a wide range of industries, including insurance, healthcare and steel. Its previous investments in entertainment and culture include Focus Media and Bona Film Group, the company said.
Fosun did not disclose financial details of the deal.
The arrangement with Fosun brings Studio 8's total financing to about $1 billion in equity and debt, though other investors have not yet been revealed, said a person with knowledge of the deal.
Earlier this year, the Beijing film production company Huayi Bros. Media Corp. was in talks to invest as much as $150 million in Studio 8. No financing deal was struck between Huayi and Studio 8, but the Beijing firm could still be a distribution partner for Studio 8, this person said.
Studio 8 is still in talks for an agreement that would have Sony Pictures Entertainment distribute and invest in the production company's movies, the source said.
Robinov left Warner Bros. in the summer of 2013 after leading Hollywood's biggest movie studio since 2007. The executive exited after he lost a race to succeed Barry Meyer as chairman and chief executive of Warner Bros.
Under his leadership, Warner Bros. released Christopher Nolan's blockbuster "The Dark Knight" trilogy and Ben Affleck's Academy Award-winning "Argo."
"Both China and the U.S. possess the film markets with the most influence and potential," Robinov said in a statement. "We are excited to unite the markets, teams, technologies and respective advantages and work together on building a number of top-level films including co-production films between China and other countries."