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China’s Huace Group signs $300-million film financing deal with Arclight Films

Chinese entertainment conglomerate Huace Group is partnering with Australia’s Arclight Films to co-finance a $300-million slate of movies.

Arclight Films, an international sales company (unaffiliated with the L.A.-based ArcLight Cinemas theater chain), said it had formed a joint venture with Huace to produce a dozen action and science fiction movies over three years.

The movies will be English-language co-productions featuring American, Australian and Chinese actors. Budgeted at $20 million to $60 million, the movies will target international as well as Chinese audiences, said Gary Hamilton, chairman of Arclight Films.

“We are exporting Chinese culture and Chinese actors and maybe changing some of the stereotypes where Chinese actors are not necessarily cast in the lead roles,” Hamilton said. “We’re trying to cross a bridge between both markets.”

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The deal is the latest tie-up between Chinese and Western film companies eager to expand into the world’s second-largest film market. Earlier this week Warner Bros. signed a joint-venture deal with China Media Capital to co-produce a slate of Chinese-language films.  Chinese digital studio Original Force, backed by Tencent Holdings, last month launched a new animation studio  in Culver City run by former DreamWorks Animation executives.

Huace and Arclight already have three films in the works, an action thriller called “Lights Out”;  “Safecracker,” a crime film directed by Gregor Jordan; and an unidentified movie being developed with Thunder Road.

Arclight, which also owns the Darclight and Easternlight film labels, was established in 2002.  The company has sold over 300 movies, including the Oscar-winning “Crash”; “Lord of War,” starring Nicolas Cage, Jared Leto and Ethan Hawke; and “Forbidden Kingdom,” starring Jackie Chan and Jet Li. The company’s films also include worldwide horror hits “Wolf Creek” and “Bait 3D.”

Arclight is based in Sydney, Australia, and also has offices in Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Beijing and Toronto. Huace, which was launched in 2005, produces and distributes movies and TV shows in China.

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