On July 25, 2020, at the opening forum of the Shanghai International Film Festival, the founder of Bona Pictures, Yu Dong, said that he is currently discussing rent reductions with the owners of Bona Cinemas and called on everyone to work together to overcome the difficulties. Together to help the film industry recover as soon as possible. At the same time, with the gradual opening of movie theaters across the country, Yu Dong revealed that in the second half of 2020, there will be Bona productions such as “Hot Blood Chorus” starring Andy Lau, “Sunny Years” starring Chow Yun-fat, and the new film “My Boyhood” directed by Chen Kaige. ‘S films and the audience meet one after another on the big screen.
The most important qualities of Yu Dong are hard work, hard work, and tenacity. In the impression of the media and the public, he has always been a founder who is very good at assessing the situation. The films produced by Bona have themes that are biased towards grand narratives, as well as the option of embedding small characters into the big history to discuss the struggle of human nature in the real environment. In every aspect of the film industry, actors, directors, and producers are all professions that require not only talent, but also courage and strength to dance on the tip of the knife. As an investor, you must also take the lead in discovering and identifying where It is a knife, how can we go through fire and water while keeping a safe distance perfectly?
On December 12, 2019, Yu Dong attended The Year Ahead Outlook 2020 Summit hosted by BusinessWeek/Chinese Version, and had a conversation with Li Jian, the publisher of the Business Weekly/Chinese Version and Executive Director of Modern Media Group. Yu Dong said at the time that in 2018, film and television companies entered a cold winter; 2019 is still hard. However, no one can predict that in 2020, the risk of the epidemic will sweep the world, and force majeure factors will push the risk to its peak. However, as long as a straw remains, the founders will not give up, and must firmly move towards a new, exciting, and unknown tomorrow.
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The following is the transcript of the conversation between Yu Dong and Li Jian, the publisher and executive director of Hyundai Media Group, at The Year Ahead Outlook 2020 Summit hosted by BusinessWeek. Dr. Dong himself approved and authorized to forward it. We will also continue to compile the interview records of Mr. Yu Dong to share valuable entrepreneurial experience with the founders. Warmly welcome the founders to pay attention to Bona Pictures and domestic films.
First of all, production companies are struggling, and the proportion of films that lose money is relatively large. It is also difficult for distribution companies. Due to the role of media and self-media, the current movie audiences have developed “antibodies” to the “overmarketing” of film companies. Therefore, although film companies spend a lot of money, they have no effect or no effect. obvious. It is even more difficult for movie theater operators. This year, all movie theaters are in a state of “declining proportion over the same period.” We have added a lot of new screens, but the revenue of movie theaters is decreasing. Ticket prices are increasing, but the number of movie viewers has not increased. At the same time, rents are increasing, the cost of opening new theaters is very high, and the trend of closing stores at the end has appeared. Therefore, in 2019, although the Chinese film market has exceeded 60.9 billion yuan, it reached last year’s box office results nearly 20 days ahead of schedule. The Chinese film market still maintains a high level of growth. This achievement is hard to come by. Hard work is inseparable.
Against this background, Bona Pictures, China’s largest privately-owned film and television company, launched the “Chinese Pride Trilogy” in one go in 2019-“Decisive Moment”, “Chinese Captain” and “Heroes of Fire”. The capital scale of the three films is close to 1 billion investment. For Dong, this is a challenge. “The three films have achieved nearly 5 billion box office. I am still very happy and excited. Not only have the box office results, but also very importantly, they have been liked by the audience, and the audience has received rave reviews.” Yu Dong Said that Bona Pictures this year also made a historic breakthrough of 7 billion box office. Yu Dong hopes to hit 8 billion box office this year.
Bona Pictures has always adhered to the ideal of a “big movie”. Since its listing in the United States in 2010, Bona Pictures hopes to become an international company. It has been 9 years, and 5 of them have been the time when Bona Pictures made its efforts in the US capital market. “In the past five years, Bona Pictures has only received less than US$100 million in financing, but it has laid the foundation for Bona Pictures’ corporate governance and all financial foundations, and consolidated the layout of the entire industry chain.” Winter said.
Why did Bona Pictures delist from the US in 2015? Yu Dong believes that this choice is right. “If I were still in the U.S. stock market, I might be submerged on Wall Street. So I was lucky enough to decide to’return to A shares’.” Yu Dong said that when switching the capital market track, it is actually his confidence in China’s future economic development. Confidence in the growth of the Chinese film market.
Yu Dong clearly remembers that investor Shen Nanpeng said to him: “You may not be able to keep up with the soaring A-share capital market when you come back. You came back at the wrong time. But if you take a longer time to look at this decision, the actual The above is to test your confidence in the future.” Sure enough, when Bona Pictures returned to the domestic capital market, it encountered the “thousand stock limit”, which affected various industries, especially traditional industries. On the road, Bona Pictures faces “return” or “not back”? “I’ve already’returned’, I’m already on the road, but I can’t’fall’ down anymore,” Yu Dong said.
So far, Bona Pictures has been queuing in the A-share market for more than two years, plus five years of preparation before delisting, Bona Pictures has made rapid progress at the box office. Yu Dong said that from 2015 to 2019, the box office performance alone doubled the previous five years. In the five years in the U.S. stock market, Bona Pictures has achieved a box office of 10.267 billion. In the last five years, it has reached 21.9 billion.
But Yu Dong didn’t treat Bona Pictures as a Chinese film company. After all, Bona Pictures had experience in the US stock market and also in Hollywood, so it lies in Dong’s heart that the main theme of the left hand and the ideal of Hollywood on the right are still there. Yu Dong said, “The growth of Chinese films is a housekeeping skill, but learning from Hollywood’s production experience, distribution experience and the use of Hollywood’s global distribution network to make the product extension continue to be exported to various theaters and markets in the world, I think this path must be right.”
Yu Dong said that in the past, Chinese film companies made Hollywood films, which was basically a financial investment. With the growth of the Chinese film market, the voice and decision-making power of Chinese producers has become more and more important. For example, “The Battle of Midway” produced by Bona Pictures has a history of “finding money and investment” for nearly 10 years in Hollywood. None of these major film companies voted because this genre has been filmed many times, but The film’s director, Roland, is a very mature commercial film director. He has filmed “2012”, “The Day After Tomorrow”, “Godzilla” and “Independence Day”. This film happens to be an independent production without the support of the 6 majors.
In this conversation, Yu Dong revealed for the first time the details about Bona Pictures’ preparations for the “Changjin Lake” movie. This is a very important and famous battle that took place in the 1950s with the background of resisting U.S. aggression and aid to Korea-the Battle of Changjin Lake. It was the first battle of the Chinese People’s Volunteers into Korea. “My interest and research on war films also made me take this risk. I worked with Director Roland to do this together.”
Yu Dong also responded for the first time to the comments made by netizens that “The Battle of Midway” “made Bona upright”. He admitted that there was a loss, but not much. A total of US$100 million was invested. Combination requires the market of several publishers to combine, which is a characteristic of independent production. This experience also gave Bona Pictures an extra experience in the “Filming Guarantee”.
Yu Dong said that if Chinese films want to enter the world track, one day they will have to use the operation of “pre-sale through distribution and independent production”. “Because when you complete the film and then sell the film, the distributor will always make a lot of money, because you have already finished filming.” Therefore, how to bind the distributor as the pre-sale to complete the market distribution, this should be a Chinese film. The only way to go out. If Chinese films can be pre-sold in North America and the European market, it is called “order-based production.” If Chinese films can enter the international market in the future and make order-based production, that is the beginning of Chinese films’ real influence on the world.
This year, Chinese films have overwhelmingly won the market share of Hollywood films this year. The proportion of domestic films and Hollywood films shown in China this year is about “72:28.” Yu Dong said that this has not happened in the past 10 years. What makes Yu Dong more confident is that in the past 10 years, Chinese films have relied on “quota governance” to suppress the number of imported films, so that the proportion of imported films should not exceed 50%. After the liberalization this year, the intensive emissions of imported films in November did not hold up the box office of 3 billion per month. The quality of Chinese domestic films has been significantly improved. The demand for watching movies and the enthusiasm of the audience for Chinese films have made domestic films and Chinese films popular. This is a very confident expression. I think that if the Chinese film continues to go on, it will get a comprehensive improvement after a few years.
For the film industry in 2020, Yu Dong believes that for Chinese films, it is a cold winter for capital, but it cannot withstand the warm spring of creation. In 2019, Bona Pictures has a box office of 7 billion yuan and cinema revenue of more than 1 billion yuan. These will all be funds to support creation. In 2020, he hopes that Bona Pictures can participate in the development of the entire industry, participate in international competition, and become a representative of the new forces in the future. Industries have cycles, and economic laws also have cycles. Therefore, the awe cycle, when the cycle is down, the more the person at the helm must grasp the overall situation and have the courage to innovate. Not innovating is equal to waiting for death, and innovation has the opportunity to kill the blood.