Legendary, The Studio Behind WarCraft and 300, Has Been Bought by the Chinese

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The Chinese owned Dailian Wanda Group announced yesterday that they had just purchased controlling interest in Legendary Entertainment.

This is extremely relevant to the geek and nerd community at large because Legendary Entertainment is the studio behind several well known and successful films that we are huge fans of, including many of the comic book adaptions we love. A few of the films they are responsible for include Jurassic WorldGodzilla, 300, Hangover, Pacific Rim, Watchmen, Sucker Punch, The Dark Knight Trilogy and the upcoming Warcraft movie.

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The good news is that according to the press release, Thomas Tull, the current Chairman and CEO of Legendary, will continue to be responsible for its day-to-day operations.

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Here is the press release:

China’s Dailian Wanda Group And Legendary Seal Merger For $3.5 Billion

 BEIJING, January 12, 2016 — Dalian Wanda Group Co., Ltd. (“Wanda Group”) today announced the execution of a definitive Merger Agreement with US Legendary Entertainment (“Legendary”) at a signing ceremony in Beijing. Wanda Group announced that it has acquired Legendary for no more than $3.5 billion (around RMB 23 billion) in cash, marking China’s largest cross-border cultural acquisition to date. Thomas Tull will remain as Chairman and CEO of Legendary and will continue to be responsible for its day-to-day operations and will significantly participate in the success of the company with Wanda.

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Wanda is a rapidly growing company owned by the richest man in China, Wang Jianlin. They are the majority stake holder in AMC, one of the the U.S.’s biggest movie theaters.

Wanda has been in talks with Dreamworks Animation for several years, but no deal has been reached. I wonder if this is instead of Dreamworks or if they are still pursuing it.

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The question I really have to ask is whether movie quality will be compromised as they try to meet the strict requirements of Chinese censors? Wanda’s chairman had previously told the BBC that Hollywood would have to change if they wanted to succeed in China. If so then we may find them downgrading the ‘edginess’ of some movies and we may not be seeing things like Sucker Punch and 300 from them again.