James Cameron’s 3D China venture

BEIJING -- Filmmaker James Cameron and 3D photography specialist Vince Pace have announced that the Cameron Pace Group (CPG), which specializes in providing 3D technology, services and consulting to other producers, will launch a new joint venture in China. The deal, signed Wednesday in Beijing with the state-owned Tianjin North Film Group and Tianjin High-tech Holding Group, will see CPG triple in size in the next 18 months, as Cameron and Pace build up a staff of Chinese workers, overseen by a team that will come in part from the U.S. and be housed at CPG China’s new studio in the city of Tianjin.

Cameron said this is the first step in a global expansion for the company, part of a push to make 3D technology the universal film standard worldwide.

“Our fantasy is that China will set the path and the rest of the world will look and say, ‘They’re going straight into 3D production,’” said Cameron.

China, the fastest-growing world film market, has been quick to embrace 3D cinema. Cameron’s 3D “Avatar” was the biggest-grossing movie of all time in China, with around two-thirds of the total Chinese revenue of $208 million coming from 3D screenings. The re-release of Cameron’s “Titanic” in 3D made as much money in China as it made in all other international markets (excluding North America) combined.


Five of China’s top-grossing films in 2011 -- all of them American made -- were in 3D. “Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon,” for which CPG provided the 3D technology, was also a hit in the Middle Kingdom. Out of the movie’s $350 million in box office receipts worldwide, $168 million came from China.

Cameron expressed his frustration with studios in the U.S., which are sometimes reluctant to shoot film in native 3D: “We are used to bashing our heads against the wall with studios,” the director said. “Take a movie like’Spider-Man,'for example. They’ll spend a couple of hundred million dollars on that film but they won’t shoot it in 3D that has real depth to it. Or ... they’ll convert it and think they are saving a couple of million dollars but they come out with an inferior product.”

With the China CPG deal, Cameron and Pace hope to set the pace for worldwide 3D expansion.

“We’ve always said 3D is the premium brand for film entertainment,” Cameron said. “China just seems to get that: the idea that you go to see a 3D movie because that’s the best. “


‘Avengers’ closing in on ‘Titanic’

James Cameron diving to the bottom of Mariana Trench

‘Avatar 2': The James Cameron sequel finds a home