Noted film buff and China’s richest man Wang Jianlin is now the very proud owner of a sizable chunk of Hollywood.
Wang’s Wanda Group announced earlier today the acquisition of Hollywood studio Legendary Entertainment for a measly $3.5 billion in cash. According to China Daily, the deal marks the largest overseas cultural acquisition made by a Chinese company to date.
Reportedly, Wang isn’t planning on any major shake up to the organization’s structure, choosing to keep current CEO Thomas Tull in place rather than, say, appointing his financially-savvy son to run the operation.
Which makes sense, because Legendary is an extremely successfully film production company that is responsible for a number of recent blockbuster hits including Jurassic World, The Hangover and Interstellar.
Real estate and entertainment super-mogul Wang recently retook his position as China’s wealthiest person with Forbes estimating his net worth at around $34.4 billion. Part of that fortune is based on the fact that his company is the world’s largest cinema chain operator, even buying up AMC Theatres in 2012. He is also building a 500-acre Hollywood of his own in Qingdao. Dude likes movies.
Here’s what the big kahuna himself had to say about his most recent acquisition:
The acquisition of Legendary will make Wanda Film Holdings Company the highest revenue-generating film company in the world, increasing Wanda’s presence in China and the US, the world’s two largest markets. Wanda’s businesses will encompass the full scope of film production, exhibition and distribution, enhancing Wanda’s core competitiveness and amplifying our voice in the global film market.
Film industry insiders are now a bit concerned with what sort of changes this new regime will bring with them to Hollywood.
In a statement, Tull tried to calm critics:
Together, Wanda and Legendary will create a completely new international entertainment company. There is an ever growing demand for quality entertainment content worldwide, particularly in China, and we will combine our respective strengths to bring an even better entertainment experience to the world’s audiences.
So, essentially, with Wanda’s backing, new Legendary films look to have a greater probability of being accepted into the increasingly-important yearly foreign film quota mandated by SARFT, giving them a more direct route to the world’s second biggest box office than other studios. It certainly does seem to make everything much simpler.