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October 22, 2009

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New team aims to revive Golden Harvest

THE new management of a famed Hong Kong film studio that worked with Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan and John Woo promised yesterday to revive the company into a Chinese powerhouse in movie production and multiplexes.

Hong Kong-listed Golden Harvest Entertainment (Holdings) Ltd once produced some of Lee's most famous movies, including "Enter the Dragon." In 1979, it signed Chan and released some of his earlier films. The company crossed over to Hollywood with the 1990 hit "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles."

Golden Harvest later scaled back its productions ¨? its last film was in 2003 ¨? and focused on its movie theater and distribution business. In 2007, founder Raymond Chow sold his controlling stake to Chinese businessman Wu Kebo, who runs Orange Sky Entertainment Group (International) Holdings Ltd. Earlier this year, Golden Harvest absorbed Orange Sky's film production unit and changed its name to Orange Sky Golden Harvest.

Meeting the press for the first time since the name change, Orange Sky Golden Harvest executives yesterday unveiled an aggressive plan to return to film production and expand its number of movie theaters in China ¨? from its current 12 to 600 in three years.

Chen Guowei, general manager in charge of mainland business, said the company aims to release five movies a year, including at least one meant to be a big-budget blockbuster. Chen said it invested in the upcoming action thriller "Storm Warriors" and is planning a film about ancient Chinese female warriors with "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" producer Bill Kong.


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