Major Chinese Film Companies - Huayi, Enlight, and LeTV - Report 2013 Earnings... And They're Strong (Although Enlight Couldn't Match Their Stunning 2012 Revenue Numbers)
In a March 10th, 2014 post to filmbizasia.com the newly-announced annual earnings of Huayi, Enlight, and LeTV - three major players in the Chinese film production business - were summed up.
Behind box office hits "Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons 西游 降魔篇, Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon 狄仁杰之神都龍王 and Personal Tailor 私人訂製, Huayi Brothers Media Corporation 華誼兄弟傳媒股份有限公司 reported a year-on-year increase of 224% in net profits, from RMB254 million (US$41.5 million) to RMB823 million (US$134 million) in 2013."
224% increase in profits! What does Huayi Brothers plan to do with all that cash? Well... as the LA Times reported on March 6th, 2014, Huayi Brothers might invest up to US$150 million in a new movie company lead by the former president of Warner Bros. Pictures Group (2007-2013), Jeff Robinov. (A bit of background? When Kevin Tsujihara won a competition to succeed Barry Meyer as CEO of Warners, Jeff Robinov promptly left WB - vowing to start his own company. A US$150 million investment from Huayi Brothers would account for about 1/2 of the total that Mr. Robinov is apparently seeking for that new venture (perhaps with distribution via Sony?), Studio 8. If the Huayi Brothers investment goes through it will be just the latest in a series of deals - like Disney + Shanghai Media Group and Jeff Berg's Resolution Agency teaming with Beijing's Bison Capital - where big Chinese money has become a key element in determining the future of Hollywood.)
Another major Chinese player reporting steep earnings growth is LeTV Pictures Co Ltd 樂視娛樂投資（北京）有限公司 with a reported "a year-on-year increase of 20.1% in net profit, from RMB197 million (US$32.2 million) in 2012 to RMB237 million (US$38.7 million) in 2013. Net revenue [at LeTV was also] up by 101%, from RMB1.17 billion (US$190 million) in 2012 to RMB2.34 billion (US$383 million) in 2013."
The laggard in the group was Beijing Enlight Media Co Ltd 北京光線傳媒股份有限公司 - and, even there, there is a story of success...
Enlight was unable to top 2012 revenue numbers in 2013, "even though net profit experienced a year-on-year increase of 5.72% to RMB310 million (US$50.6 million) [in 2013]."
So Enlight increased the level of profits in 2013 - even as total revenue declined (the company's 2013 net revenue suffered a decrease of 12.5%, from RMB1.03 billion (US$169 million) in 2012 to RMB904 million (US$148 million) in 2013).
Why the decline from the heady revenue numbers posted in 2012?
Is Enlight shrinking?
Enlight's total revenue numbers decreased in 2013 (year on year) because 2012's results included the record-breaking gross of Enlight's Lost in Thailand 人再囧途之泰囧 (2012).
So even though Enlight's slate in 2013 included several hugely profitable hit films - including So Young 致我們終將逝去的青春 (that's the poster for So Young at the top of this post) and American Dreams in China 中國合伙人) - the company couldn't quite match the revenue they made in their amazingly successful 2012.
Finally, it's worth noting that Enlight's revenue from its television productions continued to grow.
In short, the Chinese film production business is still booming.
(If you're interested in reading more about Enlight's 2013, the March 7th, 2014 update to my post about the booming Chinese theatrical film business includes an account of how Enlight's So Young and American Dreams in China beat back Iron Man 3 in May 2013.)
Randy Finch's Film Blog:
Thoughts from a film producer about making and distributing films.