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By MCN Editor editor@moviecitynews.com

Bona Film Group Secures Strategic Investment From News Corporation: Global Media Company to Purchase Minority Stake

BEIJING, May 13, 2012 — Bona Film Group Limited (Nasdaq:BONA), a leading film distributor and vertically integrated film company in China, today announced that the Company has secured a strategic investment from News Corporation.

Under the investment agreement, News Corporation will acquire a 19.9% equity stake in Bona directly from the Company’s Founder, Chairman and CEO, Mr. Dong Yu.

Mr. Yu has entered into separate agreements to acquire 1,000,000 Bona ordinary shares from SIG China Investments One, Ltd., 1,000,000 Bona ordinary shares from Matrix Partners China Funds and 1,500,000 Bona ordinary shares from the Sequoia Funds, at an average price of $11.40 per share, or $5.70 per American Depositary Share.

“We are thrilled to receive this strategic investment from News Corporation,” said Dong Yu, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Bona Film Group Limited. “As one of the leading film distributors in China, we are committed to bringing the best quality Chinese films to broad
audiences around the world. News Corporation’s extensive global reach, investment and distribution will help accelerate our strategy to expand our global footprint.

“Since our IPO in 2010, we have developed our business significantly and we believe now is the time to diversify our ownership structure by introducing select strategic investors. This is an exciting period of growth for China’s film industry, and we look forward to exploring the international commercial opportunities for Chinese films with our new partner,” Mr. Yu concluded.

“One of Bona’s unique advantages is its vertically-integrated business model, which differentiates the Company from other film distributors in China,” said Dr. Jack Gao, SVP, News Corporation & CEO, News Corporation China Investments. “China’s film market is growing at a rapid pace, positioning the country to be the second largest film market following the United States, and Bona’s market leadership, compelling value proposition and tremendous growth potential make this an attractive opportunity for News Corporation.”

Following the close of these transactions, Mr. Yu’s ownership will be reduced to 8,210,803 ordinary shares (not including options to purchase 545,615 ordinary shares), representing approximately 27.0% of the Company’s ordinary shares outstanding. These transactions are expected to close in the next 15 days and are subject to customary closing conditions.

About Bona Film Group Limited

Bona Film Group Limited (Nasdaq:BONA) is a leading film distributor in China, with an integrated business model encompassing film distribution, film production, film exhibition and talent representation. Bona distributes films to Greater China, Korea, Southeast Asia, the United States and Europe, invests and produces movies in a variety of genres, owns and operates 13 movie theaters and manages a range of talented and popular Chinese artists.

For more information about Bona, please visit http://www.bonafilm.cn.

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Tsangari: With my next film, White Knuckles, it comes with a budget — it’s going to be a huge new world for me. As always when I enter into a new thing, don’t you wonder how it’s going to be and how much of yourself you are going to have to sacrifice? The ballet of all of this. I’m already imaging the choreography — not of the camera, but the choreography of actually bringing it to life. It is as fascinating as the shooting itself. I find the producing as exciting as the directing. The one informs the other. There is this producer-director hat that I constantly wear. I’ve been thinking about these early auteurs, like Howard Hawks and John Ford and Preston Sturges—all of these guys basically were hired by the studio, and I doubt they had final cut, and somehow they had films that now we can say they had their signatures.  There are different ways of being creative within the parameters and limitations of production. The only thing you cannot negotiate is stupidity.
Filmmaker: And unfortunately, there is an abundance of that in the world.
Tsangari: This is the only big risk: stupidity. Everything else is completely worked out in the end.
~ Chevalier‘s Rachel Athina Tsangari

“The middle-range movies that I was doing have largely either stopped being made, or they’ve moved to television, now that television is a go-to medium for directors who can’t get work in theatricals, because there are so few theatricals being made. But also with the new miniseries concept, you can tell a long story in detail without having to cram it all into 90 minutes. You don’t have to cut the characters and take out the secondary people. You can actually put them all on a big canvas. And it is a big canvas, because people have bigger screens now, so there’s no aesthetic difference between the way you shoot a movie and the way you shoot a TV show.

“Which is all for the good. But what’s happened in the interim is that theatrical movies being a spectacle business are now either giant blockbuster movies that run three hours—even superhero movies run three hours, they used to run like 58 minutes!—and the others, which are dysfunctional family independent movies or the slob comedy or the kiddie movie, and those are all low-budget. So the middle ground of movies that were about things, they’re just gone. Or else they’re on HBO. Like the Bryan Cranston LBJ movie, which years ago would’ve been made for theaters.

“You’ve got people like Paul Schrader and Walter Hill who can’t get their movies theatrically distributed because there’s no market for it. So they end up going to VOD, and VOD is a model from which no one makes any money, because most of the time, as soon as they get on the site, they’re pirated. So the whole model of the system right now is completely broken. And whether or not anybody’s going to try to fix, or if it even can be fixed, I don’t know. But it’s certainly not the same business that I got into in the ’70s.”
~ Joe Dante

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