China's Huayi Brothers to Launch Animation Unit Led by Hollywood Veteran
The Chinese studio, which has an 18-picture financing and distribution deal with STX Entertainment, has hired former DreamWorks Animation and Fox executive Joe Aguilar to lead the new division.
Leading Chinese film studio Huayi Brothers said on Monday that it would launch an animation division headed by veteran Hollywood producer Joe Aguilar, formerly of Oriental DreamWorks and 20th Century Fox, as CEO.
"The establishment of an animation company signifies that the company will enter the animated movie industry with world-class production skills," Huayi said in a statement.
The publicly traded Chinese studio has been expanding its ties with Hollywood. The company signed a landmark 18-film co-financing and distribution agreement with Bob Simonds' STX Entertainment last April.
Over the past six months, animation has emerged as a particularly hot genre at the booming Chinese box office. In January, DreamWorks Animation's first official Chinese co-production, Kung Fu Panda 3, grossed $146 million, a new record in China for an animated title. Aguilar is understood to have overseen the production of the Chinese contributions to the film. Disney Animation's Zootopia is currently topping the Chinese charts, having pulled in more than $112 million after 10 days. ...
Huayi said it plans to announce additional Hollywood hires for the startup animation unit in the coming weeks. ...
My guess is that the Huayi Brothers will set up a satellite studio in California before too much more time passes. Reason? Everybody wants to tap into the talent pool that creates Inside Out, Frozen, Tangled, Zootopia, etc., etc.
And that talent pool resides in California. And is fully employed. And likely not inclined to move overseas. So ... as other Chinese companies before it, the Huayi Brothers will probably set up a satellite studio here in the Golden State.