TCB in RMB: Iger Celebrates Shanghai Disney’s First Anniversary

Welcome to TCB In RMB, a weekly summary of important developments in the Chinese entertainment business.

Bob Iger: I have no plans to collaborate with other theme park operators in China

Disney CEO Bob Iger visited China again, this time for the first anniversary of the opening of Shanghai Disney Resort. The park has received more than 11 million tourists so far and is expected to break even this year. Iger told Caijing that the fast success of Shanghai Disney is a very rare event over Disney’s past three decades.

Iger attributed Shanghai Disney’s success to the high level of investment and its unique intellectual property. He also told Caijing that Disney has no relationship with any other Chinese theme park operators and has no plan to collaborate with them. “They have their businesses, we have ours,” Iger said.

He implied that Disney has thought about investing in internet companies but later explained that it doesn’t mean Disney will invest in tech companies immediately and didn’t further elaborate.


Celebrities-owned Beijing Wishart raised new funds

Beijing Wishart Entertainment, the film marketer for Disney’s Born in China and other Chinese hits, just raised RMB 50 million ($7.3 million), bringing its valuation to RMB 600 million (US$87.8 million).

This round of financing was led by state-owned Guangzhou Yuexiu Finance. The company earlier received investment from singers Hu Haiquan, Chen Yufan, and film director Dong Chengpeng.

Wishart recently expanded its business to online dramas, variety shows, and music videos. Just one month ago, Wishart acquired an additional 20 percent stake in Beijing Zhuizong Entertainment, a film and TV show producer and distributor, for RMB 12 million. Wishart previously owned a 10 percent stake in Zhuizong Entertainment.

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Director Wu Jing sued by previous investor

Wu Jing, director of Wolf Warriors 2, a war-themed action film, was sued by Wuhan Legends Entertainment, which seeks a trademark damage of RMB 10 million ($1.5 million).

Wuhan Legends was one of the four investors in the original Wolf Warriors, released in 2015. Wuhan Legends paid RMB 3 million ($438,900) for a 20 percent slice of the film at the time, but it was excluded from investing in the second installment of the series.

Wuhan Legends held a press conference during the Shanghai International Film Festival, claiming that moving forward without investment from them in the second film represents a copyright violation.

As actor-turned-director Wu Jing’s debut, Wolf Warriors grossed RMB 525 million ($76.8 million). Wolf Warriors 2 is slated for release on July 28.