Wanda, Sony said to be close to movie alliance
Billionaire Wang Jianlin’s Dalian Wanda Group Co is nearing an agreement to collaborate on movie projects with Sony Corp’s film unit, according to a source with knowledge of the matter.
An accord could involve cofinancing and other forms of cooperation, such as marketing, said the source, who asked not to be identified because the matter is still private. Wanda may finance up to 10 percent of some films, the person said.
Representatives atWanda and Sony either declined to comment or did not immediately respond to queries.
For China’sWanda, which operates the largest number of movie screens worldwide, a deal with the studio behind the Spider-Man movies would build on Wang’s ambitions to expand inHollywood after snapping up independent film producer Legendary Entertainment for $3.5 billion this year.
Wanda’s AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc has also agreed to buy Carmike Cinemas Inc, which would make it the biggest operator of cinemas in the US.
For the Hollywood arm of Sony, the Japanese maker of the PlayStation, winning the backing of Wanda could help it gain greater access to China’s movie market. Wanda operates the largest movie-theater chain in China, where the box office is headed toward overtaking the United States by as soon as next year.
“Wanda is a big deeppocketed partner, so to not go it alone makes much sense,” Amir Anvarzadeh, Singapore-based global head of Japan equity sales at BGC Partners Inc, wrote in an e-mail. “Overall, it’s a positive development and we just have to waitandseehow much its potential contribution could be.”