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DreamWorks Animation plans to open studio in China

Kung Fu Panda 2

DreamWorks Animation SKG aims to build an animation studio in Shanghai in a further effort to plumb the vast Chinese economy.

The Glendale-based studio, which recently announced a deal with online video site Youku.com to distribute its "Kung Fu Panda" movies in China, is recruiting executives to run a studio that would produce animated movies and TV shows catering to the Chinese market, said a person familiar with the plans who was not authorized to speak about them.

DreamWorks has tapped RSR Recruiting of Los Angeles to recruit staff to run the facility.

A spokeswoman for DreamWorks Animation declined to discuss the proposed studio. "As it is an important market for us and one in which the DreamWorks Animation brand and products have tremendous value, we continue to explore opportunities in China,'' the spokeswoman said. "Any further speculation is premature."

The plans were first reported by AFP and Variety.

China represents big opportunities for studios like DreamWorks, which has enjoyed strong box-office success with its "Kung Fu Panda" movies in China. The country, however, also poses plenty of challenges, including restrictions on the number of foreign films it allows into the country and rampant piracy.

Nonetheless, DreamWorks is one among several studios and Hollywood companies seeking to tap the Chinese market. Beverly Hills-based RealD recently announced that would partner with Beijing SAGA Luxury Cinema Management Co. to equip the Chinese theater chain with 3-D technology. Last month, production companies Relativity and Legendary East also unveiled new ventures in China to co-finance and release movies.

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Warner Bros. to distribute films in China on cable TV

U.S. film producers are engaging the Chinese

--Richard Verrier

Photo: The martial arts action hero Po, voiced by Jack Black, in "Kung Fu Panda 2." Credit: DreamWorks Animation

 
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