Digital Domain Media Group has launched an expansion into the Chinese film market with the announcement of the company’s first strategic partnership in China. The partnership between Beijing Galloping Horse Film and Digital Domain will help the company address China’s quickly growing demand for high-end, American-driven film production values and expand DDMG’s global footprint.
The new Digital Domain – Galloping Horse Studio will provide visual effects, animation and production services for motion pictures, television and related media. The company expects that the facility in China will be comparable in scale to the company’s nearly completed animation studio in Port St. Lucie, Florida – a facility that was funded by the city with an investment of approximately $50 million for the land and building.
Digital Domain and Beijing Galloping Horse Film will each own 50 percent of the studio. Digital Domain will contribute its technology and expertise in operating a VXF operation and will be responsible for designing the facility and for training personnel. Beijing Galloping Horse Film will provide the land for the studio and will be responsible for the construction and build-out costs. Galloping Horse will also lead related fundraising for the venture in the greater China capital markets.
This agreement, which marks the company’s first step into the high-growth film market in China, provides the company with access to a source of efficient capital in China, and provides Beijing Galloping Horse Film with access to the core U.S. film industry.
“We have a high-growth model that is unique in its use of strategic and governmental partnerships to generate business expansion opportunities domestically and abroad,” said John Textor, CEO of Digital Domain. “We have mitigated financial risk by securing government grants or partner contributions for the high cost of land acquisition, facility expansion and training, and we have also mitigated business execution risk by partnering with well-funded, proven leaders in other markets.”
“This joint venture enables us to leverage our reputation for excellence and innovation in visual effects and our state-of-the-art proprietary technologies and patent portfolio into the large and rapidly expanding Chinese market,” Textor continued. “It supplements our strong studios in the U.S. and continues the implementation of our plan to expand our global footprint, adding to our existing international operations in Canada, India and London. It also highlights the growing importance of China as a market for video entertainment. Galloping Horse, which does not currently have VFX capability, is an ideal partner for us as we link our award-winning technology with that company’s excellent reputation and strong market position in China.”
“China’s film industry is soaring,” said Ivy Zhong, the vice chairman of Galloping Horse. “According to the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, the box office in China had a 64-percent annual growth rate in 2010 and is expected to maintain a 30-percent growth in 2011. We are also seeing strong needs among the Chinese audience for blockbusters with heavy visual-effects elements in them.”