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商业 - 传媒与文化

中国投资大腕勇闯好莱坞

Wenguang Huang 2012年04月13日

杨澜的电视事业风生水起,她的丈夫、投资人吴征更是雄心万丈。他不是被动等待好莱坞大片进入中国市场,而是直接奔赴好莱坞寻找商机。这几年他已经多次赴好莱坞,希望物色合适的电影制片商合作,投资有全球票房潜力的英文和中文电影,并且要在中国和亚洲其他地区建立娱乐分销体系。

    上世纪九十年代中后期,第一批美国好莱坞大片登陆中国市场,比如《亡命天涯》(The Fugitive)和《泰坦尼克号》(Titanic)。宏大的场面、震撼的特效、引人入胜的剧情以及精彩的表演都令影迷们深深着迷。在中国,人们甚至创造了一个新名词,称之为“美国大片”。

    此后,美国大片在中国风光无限。1995年,《亡命天涯》票房收入达到3,300万美元,占中国年度票房总收入的三分之一。1997年公映的《泰坦尼克号》票房收入达到5,700万美元,打破了《亡命天涯》创下的记录。2010年,电影《阿凡达》(Avatar)更是收获了2.14亿票房。我有一个16岁的侄女住在中国中部,她曾经和同学排了一个小时的长队才买到《阿凡达》电影票, 25美元的票价相当于她母亲月收入的十分之一。目前好莱坞进口大片几乎已占据中国电影票房的半壁江山。

    据说,甚至中共高层领导人也爱看美国大片,比如江泽民以及习近平。习近平曾经说过,好莱坞电影场面宏大而真实,“价值观明确,善恶界限分明”。因此,他在2月份访问美国期间签署协议、允许更多的好莱坞3D影片和Imax影片在今后进入中国市场也就不足为奇了。

    中国的市场潜力已经促使梦工厂(Dreamworks)和传奇电影(Legendary Pictures)等制片公司开始接触中国公司并寻求合作。但中国媒体大腕、投资家吴征却逆向而动。这几年他已经多次赴好莱坞,希望寻找合适的电影制片商合作,投资有全球票房潜力的英文和中文电影,并且要在中国和亚洲其他地区建立娱乐分销体系。

    46岁的吴征是阳光红岩投资集团(Sun Redrock Investment)总裁,该公司是中国最大的私人媒体投资集团之一。曾在法国和美国接受教育的吴征常常被拿来与鲁伯特•默多克作比较。吴征1999年和他的妻子、中国知名电视谈话节目主持人杨澜一起创建了阳光传媒集团(Sun Media Group)。阳光传媒的投资涉及20多家中国媒体公司,覆盖2亿多消费者。

    吴征正在通过嘉实七星媒介私募基金(Harvest Seven Stars Media Private Equity)拓展其媒介帝国的疆域。拥有8亿美元资产的嘉实七星媒介私募基金于2012年2月由阳光红岩投资集团和中国两大基金管理公司之一的嘉实基金共同成立。最近几周,吴征公布了他在好莱坞进行的头两项投资: (1)与投资家及制片人杰克•艾伯茨合资成立“联合东方制片”(Allied Productions East),准备拍摄的《大清留美幼童》(Mission Boys),讲述的是十九世纪七十年代20名中国高中毕业生被送往美国哈佛大学(Harvard)和耶鲁大学(Yale)学习的故事;(2)与完美风暴娱乐公司(Perfect Storm Entertainment)导演林诣彬合作,每年拍摄两到三部电影,包括巨制片和低成本影片。

    消息人士称,吴征最近还与吴宇森【曾执导《碟中谍II》(Mission Impossible II)、《喋血双雄》(The Killer)和《变脸》(Face/Off)】及其合伙人特伦斯•常就可能的合拍项目进行会谈,并试图“收购大型好莱坞电影制片公司的股份”。

    吴征最近两次就中国电影业机遇及其自身商业追求接受《财富》杂志访问。以下为经过编辑的采访实录:

    When the first batch of Hollywood blockbusters such as The Fugitive and Titanic entered China in the mid and late 1990s, moviegoers were blown away by their cinematic grandeur, breathtaking special effects, riveting storytelling and impressive performances. China even coined a new phrase for the Hollywood tent pole productions, "Meiguo Da pian" or "Big films from the U.S."

    Since then, "big films" have become truly big in China. In 1995, The Fugitive raked in $33 million, accounting for more than one third of the country's annual ticket sales. The record was broken in 2007 by Titanic with $57 million and then Avatar's $214 million in 2010 -- my 16-year-old niece living in central China lined up for an hour with her classmates and paid about $25, an equivalent of one-tenth of her mother's monthly salary, to see Avatar. At present, Hollywood imports account for about half of China's box office takings.

    Even senior Communist leaders such as past president Jiang Zeming and Xi Jinping, the soon-to-be Party secretary and president, are said to be fans of "big films." Xi has been quoted as saying that Hollywood movies are grand and truthful and that they show "a clear outlook on values and clearly demarcate between good and evil." It was not surprising that during his trip to the U.S. in February, he signed an agreement that would allow more Hollywood 3D and Imax films into China.

    The profit potential in China has prompted studios such as Dreamworks and Legendary Pictures to reach out to companies there and forge joint ventures. But Bruno Wu, a big-name Chinese media entrepreneur and investor, is moving in the opposite direction. Over the past year, he has taken numerous trips to Hollywood in search of deals with filmmakers and studios, investing in English and Chinese language content with global box office potential, and building an entertainment distribution system for China and other parts of Asia.

    Wu, 46, is chairman of Sun Redrock Investment, one of the largest privately-held media investment groups in China. Educated in France and the U.S., and often compared to Rupert Murdoch, Wu founded the Sun Media Group in 1999 with his wife, a well-known television talk show host. Sun Media Group has investment interests in more than 20 Chinese media companies, reaching more than 200 million consumers.

    Wu is expanding his media empire through Harvest Seven Stars Media Private Equity, an $800 million film fund established in February 2012 by Wu's Sun Redrock Investment and Harvest Fund Management, one of the top two management companies in China. In recent weeks, Wu unveiled his first two investment projects in Hollywood: 1) Allied Productions East, a joint venture with financier-producer Jake Eberts to develop "Mission Boys," the story of 20 Chinese high school graduates who were sent to the U.S. in the 1870s to study at Harvard and Yale; and 2) A partnership with director Justin Lin, of Perfect Storm Entertainment, to deliver two to three films a year from blockbuster to specialized fare.

    Wu is also currently in talks with John Woo (Mission Impossible II, The Killer and Face/Off) and his partner Terrance Chang over possible co-production deals and trying to "acquire stakes in major Hollywood studio brands," according to sources briefed on the matter.

    Wu spoke twice with Fortune recently about China's opportunities in the movie business and his own aspirations. Below are edited excerpts of the interviews:

    

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