Walt Disney has revealed it will co-produce its next Iron Man movie with a Chinese partner in Hollywood's latest effort to forge closer ties with China's fast-growing film industry.
Iron Man 3, starring Robert Downey Jr, Gwyneth Paltrow and Don Cheadle, will begin filming this year, Walt Disney and its Chinese partner DMG Entertainment said. They said DMG will jointly produce the film in China, but gave no indication what parts might be filmed in the country.
"We know Chinese audiences love Iron Man. So we are going to add Chinese elements and a Chinese story into Iron Man 3," Disney's general manager for Greater China, Stanley Cheung, said at a news conference.
Disney and Beijing-based DMG said the Chinese company will invest in Iron Man 3 but gave no details.
Foreign film companies are launching ventures with Chinese partners to expand access to China, where box office receipts are growing rapidly at a time of weak sales in the United States and Europe.
China's ticket sales rose by one-third last year to two billion dollars while revenue in North America, though still far larger at 10.2 billion, has fallen for two straight years.
The communist government wants Chinese studios to learn from Hollywood and is trying to attract foreign studios to form ventures by promising more market access and a bigger share of ticket sales.
DMG Entertainment is a unit of DMG, an advertising and media company founded in 1993 by three partners, two Chinese and one American.
The company co-produced the science fiction thriller Looper, due to be released this year, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis and Emily Blunt. It includes scenes filmed in Shanghai.