Chinese theater company hires ‘super star’ as Hollywood execs step up to lead China

Chinese entertainment giant Beijing Xinhua Group has hired Hollywood film and TV execs as it steps up its efforts to lure Hollywood to the country.

The announcement on Wednesday came a day after Hollywood’s longtime executive vice president of production, Jeff Bock, left China’s state-run broadcaster, Xinhua, amid a dispute over the company’s handling of a sexual assault case.

The company said Bock would join its global production group, the China Film Group, which is led by CEO Cheng Xiaoguang.

He will be responsible for all China-based productions, including China’s biggest domestic and international films.

China has the world’s second-largest cinema market, but it is struggling to attract a large enough number of foreign filmgoers to make a difference in its declining box office numbers.

The Chinese film industry, which had a $3.5 billion budget in 2016, saw its annual production budget shrink by 7.7 percent to $8.9 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

China’s domestic box office fell 10.5 percent last year to $11.9bn.

China’s film industry has struggled to get a foothold in Hollywood in the past decade.

Chinese actors and directors have made fewer than half of their international films, according the Beijing Times.