- Associated Press - Tuesday, November 15, 2011

HONG KONG (AP) - A Hollywood-China movie production venture that plans to make big budget films for worldwide audiences has been cleared to get an infusion of $220.5 million from an unlikely source _ a construction company.

Shareholders of Hong Kong’s Paul Y. Engineering Ltd. on Tuesday approved the investment in the joint venture that is also aimed at China’s increasingly lucrative film market.

The construction firm, which says it wants to diversify and thinks the movie industry has strong growth potential, is taking a 50 percent stake in the production company, Legendary East Ltd., in exchange for the investment.

After the deal, Hollywood production house Legendary Entertainment will have a 40 percent stake while China’s Huayi Brothers Media Corp. will have 10 percent.

Paul Y executives promised they would leave the movie making to the experts.

“What we’re bringing to table is, practically, cash,” said Tom Lau, deputy chairman of Paul Y. “We do not understand the business of motion pictures nor do we pretend that we can contribute” anything more than money.

The Hong Kong-based venture, which was announced in June, plans to make one or two big budget movies a year for worldwide audiences starting in 2013. The movies will be mainly in English and feature themes based on Chinese history, mythology or culture.

The partnership allows Legendary Entertainment to bypass Chinese import restrictions that effectively limit the country to about 20 foreign blockbusters a year.

Chinese box office takings surged 64 percent to $1.5 billion in 2010.

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