Fox International strikes $130-million Asian film co-financing deal

Fox International Productions, the 20th Century Fox Film subsidiary that makes local-language films in foreign countries, has inked a $130-million co-financing deal with Ivanhoe Pictures, a new film and television company.

The four-year arrangement covers films made for India, South Korea, China, Japan and Taiwan. Ivanhoe's investment will first be used to co-finance 10 projects Fox International is now making in India, South Korea, China and Taiwan. 

The deal targets countries whose movie markets are booming. Last year, according to the Motion Picture Assn. of America, China, Japan, India and South Korea were among the top 10 international box office markets.

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China, which had $2.7 billion in ticket receipts last year -- second only to the U.S. market -- is predicted to eventually become the biggest film market in the world. Chinese box office grew by 36% in 2012, according to the Motion Picture Assn. of America.

“With the top four local product markets all being in Asia (India, China, Japan, and Korea), it continues to be a priority for Fox International Productions as we expand our activities in the region with this new deal," Fox International President Sanford Panitch said in a statement. He also cited statistics that indicate Asia represented 42% of international box office in 2012, while local-language films accounted for about 30% of the total international box office tally.

Founded in 2008, Fox International produces, co-finances and distributes movies in 11 countries in Asia, Western Europe and Latin America. The company has had a hand in more than 50 pictures, tallying box office receipts of more than $500 million, 20th Century Fox said.

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Fox International's successes include the 2013 German film "Break Up Man," the 2012 Indian movie "Bol Bachchan" and the 2011 Taiwanese picture "You Are the Apple of My Eye." 

Los Angeles-based Ivanhoe, which was launched this year, is headed by financier Robert Friedland, producer John Penotti and media executive Ray Chen. It finances and produces film and television projects for global audiences.

“Ivanhoe Pictures was launched with an initial mandate to cultivate finance, production and distribution opportunities between North America and Asia," Penotti said in a statement. "Sanford and his team have taken the time to fully understand the local markets and therefore excel by collaborating with the best directors, producers and actors.  We too believe in this approach to global filmmaking."


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