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Legendary Entertainment Hires Sirena Liu as China CEO – Variety

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Legendary Leisure has employed Sirena Liu because the CEO of its China subsidiary, Legendary East. Legendary is the studio behind the “Pacific Rim,” “Jurassic World” and the “Godzilla” film franchises.

Liu was most lately managing director for Twentieth Century Fox’s China workplace, a put up she’d held since October 2015 till mid 2019. The put up grew to become redundant following Fox’s acquisition by Disney.

After a stumbling begin in 2011, Legendary East was established as a wholly-owned subsidiary based mostly in China. Its mission was to supply large-scale native movies utilizing Hollywood experience and globally-targeted co-productions that will keep away from China’s movie import restrictions of their residence market. 

In 2016, Chinese language conglomerate Dalian Wanda spent the eye-watering sum of $3.5 billion to amass the Burbank-based mother or father firm, in one of many largest cross-border offers of its sort within the cultural sector. The mega deal caught the eye of Chinese language authorities, which moved in mid-2017 to crack down on Chinese language corporations’ huge abroad acquisitions. Wanda, specifically, was pressured to scale back its offshore holdings.

Among the many few Chinese language-made titles Legendary originated was “The Nice Wall,” directed by Zhang Yimou, and starring Matt Damon, which grossed $335 million in 2016. The scope of the Chinese language unit additionally included advertising and marketing and distribution roles, and liaison with main Chinese language corporations on their investments in Hollywood tentpoles.

In her Beijing-based place, Liu will report to Legendary’s CEO Joshua Grode and work intently with Mary Guardian, the studio’s vice chairman of worldwide manufacturing, on the China releases of its movies. Liu’s duties will embody managing China-side advertising and marketing, creating native partnerships, and boosting official co-production capabilities. 

“Sirena’s confirmed monitor report and profitability with China’s field workplace speaks for itself. We’re excited to faucet into her world-class expertise and perspective as we proceed to construct Legendary East’s presence in China and around the globe,” Grode stated in a hiring announcement.

“China stays essentially the most thrilling worldwide movie market, thus the mixture of Legendary and China makes Legendary East the right place for me,” Liu stated. “I’m excited to be a part of the wonderful Legendary workforce in China, constructing on Legendary’s stable historical past of profitable title releases.” In 2019, Legendary East supported the China releases of “Pokemon: Detective Pikachu” and “Godzilla: King of the Monsters.” The movies grossed $97 million and $135 million, respectively, within the territory.

Liu steps into sneakers most lately stuffed by Jiang Wei, aka Wayne Jiang, who held the put up from January 2018. Earlier than that, Jiang had spent a 12 months as an govt director of Shaw Brothers Holdings, after three years as president of Gravity Photos, a spell at Hong Kong’s Edko Movies and 7 years at Sony.

Earlier than Jiang was employed, Legendary East’s CEO put up had been left vacant for seven months. It had beforehand been stuffed by former Wanda exec Jack Gao, who briefly stepped in as interim CEO following the departure of veteran producer Peter Loehr, who was within the position from 2012 to early 2017.

At Twentieth Century Fox, Liu oversaw a few of the studio’s most profitable China releases, together with “The Martian,” “X-Males Apocalypse,” “Ice Age 5,” and “Alita: Battle Angel.” Her workforce additionally managed to import eight R-rated movies, that are sometimes tougher to squeeze previous strict Chinese language censorship, together with “Logan,” “Alien,” and Fox Searchlight titles “The Form of Water” and “Three Billboards Outdoors Ebbing, Missouri,” with the latter receiving a restricted launch by way of China’s Nationwide Alliance of Arthouse Cinemas.

Previous to becoming a member of Fox in October 2015, Liu ran the leisure advertising and marketing agency Filmworks China, which she based in 2010 and bought two years later to the worldwide promoting conglomerate WPP. With that firm, she put collectively partnerships between Chinese language advertisers and movies reminiscent of “Kung Fu Panda 2” and “Minions,” amongst others. Liu has beforehand additionally labored as director of strategic improvement for  cinema operator Orange Sky Golden Harvest Leisure, and as director of enterprise improvement for SEEC Media Group, a Beijing-based worldwide journal publishing home that managed the Chinese language editions of U.S. magazines reminiscent of “Sports activities Illustrated.”

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