China’s Dalian Wanda Group is reported to be buying a controlling stake in Hollywood film studio Legendary Entertainment in a deal valued around $3.5bn (£2.4bn).
Wanda, the world’s largest film theatre operator, is led by China’s richest man Wang Jianlin who has been attempting to buy a Hollywood studio for a number of years. Prior to the current deal Wang had been in talks with DreamWorks Animation last year, however no deal materialised.
News of the deal with Legendary was announced at a press conference by both firms in Beijing and follows on form a week of rumours surrounding a possible deal. Chairman and chief executive of Legendary, Thomas Tull, who also started the company, will remain as the head of the studio.
The Chinese company’s acquisition of Legendary, the studio behind films such as Jurassic World, the Dark Knight Batman trilogy and Godzilla, now paves the way for it to become a global media company and one of the world’s largest film production companies.
The deal opens up the possibility of more western films being promoted in China however Wanda's founder and chairman, Wang Jianlin, told the BBC that Hollywood films would have to adapt to the Chinese market if they wanted to succeed there
He said: "I think this is very normal because US companies want to grab a share in the Chinese high-growth market. They should do something to cater to Chinese audiences' interests — if they don't, there might be trouble".
The two firms are already making a film due for release this year. It is centred around the Great Wall and featurs Matt Damon with Chinese director, Zhang Yimou.