Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Cameron Pace Group Celebrates New 3D Tech And Services Deal With Chinese Companies -- Co-Production Options Exist For AVATAR Sequels

In what appears to be a landmark collaboration, the Cameron | Pace Group (CPG) have signed on with two Chinese companies, providing them with stereoscopic 3D technology and services. The two companies are Tianjin North Film Group, a movie and television production company, and Tianjing Binhai Hi-Tech Development Group, who operate a tech park in Tianjin, situated east of Beijing where the venture will be based.

China Central Television (CCTV) is also in talks with CPG's China Division for a potential third deal for the Vince Pace, James Cameron led company in the world's most populous country.

Says veteran stereographer Vince Pace: "We play a support role. We're there to help the expression of creativity and artistry."

Expands director James Cameron: "We're not going to tell Chinese film makers how to make movies. We are going to help them make a transition to 3D production technology as cost effectively as possible, and in a way that doesn't inhibit creativity."

It is apparently a great win-win scenario here. The Chinese companies clearly get top 3D industry expertise in technology and services, while CPG gains that business - a toehold in that exploding new Chinese 3D market. Further, some research, development and manufacturing of CPG's equipment will take place now in China.

Here's Cameron on the topic: "This is a huge investment for us, as much in sweat equity ... as it is financially."

"We expect (CCTV if they adopt 3D) to expand very rapidly, from initially maybe a handful of productions a year to, two or three years from now, we could be talking about thousands of hours of TV production. That's our goal, in any case."

"This is an enormous untapped market that is right on the verge of the transition from 2D to 3D," said Cameron. "This is the best place for us to create a kind of second home."

CPG is not the only Hollywood company seeking business ventures in the country. Dreamworks Animation will be opening a $3 billion theme park in Shanghai by 2016 and will also make at least part of KUNG FU PANDA 3 in China. Further, the IRON MAN 3 will be co-produced with a Chinese partner according to Disney.

With AVATAR 2 and it's potential release year of 2015 approaching, will CPG look into using the Chinese connection to help make the sequels? Potentially yes. Says Cameron: "There have been some very preliminary discussions about co-production potential here in China." Realistically though, I'm thinking that there may some scenes shot in the country, but at least for AVATAR 2 much of decisions may have been made. If you take a look at Cameron's recent activity in New Zealand, it seems that country will benefit the most from the upcoming blockbusters.

China for it's part has announced (March 2012) it will let an additional 14 foreign films into their country on the condition that they are made in 3D or IMAX. They have also raised the foreign share of allowable ticket sales to 25 percent. China's ticket sales continue to rise - up by a third last year alone ($2 billion).

In a potential film market such as China, these trailblazing deals have the silver lining to be very large down the road too. The Cameron | Pace Group earned $58 million last year from providing 3D services and equipment and it certainly seems that the future is continually growing for CPG with deals like this in the hopper.

Is there a danger of losing the technology to poor imitations in China like other industries have seen happen? Yes, but Cameron downplayed it: "That's certainly a danger. We are going to look very carefully at how we protect our core technology. But frankly... it is changing so rapidly that you can clone what we are putting in the field now, but we'll be coming out with something new in 18 months, anyway."

So congratulations to everyone on the Cameron | Pace Group team! Well deserved piece of business there and future success!

Sources: The Gazette | NYPost | SkyNews | Bloomberg

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