If you've been paying attention to Hollywood trends over the past few years, you may have noticed something interesting. Hollywood is well aware of the growing numbers of Chinese movie goers and is taking steps to pander to them in an effort to get their movie-going dollars. Michael Bay's 2014 film Transformers: Age of Extinction featured Chinese actors, landmarks, and even product placement. As a result, the film was, for a short time, the highest-grossing film of all time in China. In 2015, China's film industry made $6.78 billion and it could surpass the U.S.'s $10 billion this year.
China's richest man, billionaire Wang Jianlin, has already been putting together an entertainment and sports empire to compete directly with the U.S. entertainment industry. In 2012, Jianlin bought AMC Theatres for $2.6 billion. Earlier this year, he acquired Legendary Entertainment for $3.5 billion.
Now, he's added a U.S. television production company to his portfolio. Wang Jianlin's Dalian Wanda Group agreed to pay $1 billion for Dick Clark Productions Inc., the company that produces the Golden Globe Awards.
This acquisition is the Wanda Group's first foray into television production. The deal gives Wanda control of Dick Clark Productions' music and movie awards programs as well as TV shows such as "So You Think You Can Dance."
Jianlin's Wanda Group has also agreed to buy Carmike Cinemas Inc., a deal that will make Wanda the owner of the biggest movie-theater chain in the U.S.
Wanda is one of a handful of Chinese companies that have been investing money in the U.S. There was more than $18 billion in direct investment from China in the first half of 2016, which is more than the total invested in all of 2015. Jianlin's Wanda Group saw its entertainment division sales grow by 57% in the first half of 2016 to $4.3 billion in revenue.
While Chinese companies are making inroads into U.S. companies, the U.S. is not reciprocating because it cannot. The U.S. is prohibited from investing in China's media industry by the Chinese government. The country limits foreign investment in its media and film industries. Additionally, companies that are based outside of China are prohibited from investing in film production and distribution companies and are also not allowed to have a controlling interest in movie theatre chains.
Reportedly, Wanda plans to keep all of Dick Clark Productions' Santa Monica based staff.
Wang Jianlin has a net worth of $30 billion.