Cinedigm Inks Distribution Deal with China’s CMC Pictures

Cinedigm March 19 announced a partnership with CMC Pictures, distributor of Chinese movies and television shows. Under the deal, Cinedigm will release select CMC Pictures theatrical titles on DVD/Blu-ray Disc, digital, and television.

CMC Pictures titles include sci-fi title The Wandering Earth, Pegasus, Wolf Warrior 2, Detective Chinatown 2, and Animal World, among others.

“CMC Pictures represents the highest caliber of Chinese productions across a wide range of genres and with cast recognizable to international audiences,” Yolanda Macias, EVP of acquisitions and digital sales at Cinedigm, said in a statement.

Established in 2016, the studio operates as the international sales and distribution arm of China Media Capital Inc., a Chinese state-backed media and entertainment conglomerate producing movies and TV content, in addition to related businesses such as artist and sports agencies, cinemas, urban recreational complexes and theme parks.

Last summer CMC raised $1.5 billion in venture funding from China’s Alibaba Group Holding and Tencent Holdings, among other investors. CMC owns a stake in English Premier League soccer franchise Manchester United and a separate joint venture with Warner Bros. Entertainment.

The company is headed by Ruigang Li, often considered China’s Rupert Murdoch.

CMC Inc. founder/CEO Li Ruigang

The first picture under the Cinedigm deal includes The Road Not Taken, an offbeat road picture, following a bumbling ostrich farmer (Wang Xuebing), who journeys across the Gobi Desert in hopes of reconciling with his estranged wife, but ends up forming a makeshift family along the way.

The picture, directed by first time filmmaker Gaopeng Tang, screened as a selection of the “Focus on China” event at the 2018 Venice Film Festival, and was an official Golden Globe submission in the Foreign Language film category for China.

The pact reflects Cinedigm’s increasing role as go-to distributor for the distribution of Chinese content in North America. Majority-owned by Bison Capital, a Hong Kong based investment firm, Cinedigm recently announced the launch of Bambu, a digital channel which will be focused on Chinese content. Bambu will be available via major streaming devices and pay-TV carriage later this year in the US.