Oriental Dreamworks, founded in 2012, is no longer. CMC Capital Partners (CMC), previously known as China Media Capital, has taken full ownership of Oriental Dreamworks, and is relaunching it as the 100% Chinese-owned Pearl Studio.
CMC’s goal is to turn Pearl into “one of the world’s leading creators of high quality animated content for every screen and platform.”
“As Oriental DreamWorks evolves and relaunches as Pearl Studio, we have successfully accomplished the goals we envisioned when we began building this business many years ago,” said CMC CEO and chairman Li Ruigang, who is sometimes described as the Chinese Rupert Murdoch. “We have a world-class creative and development team and a robust and exciting pipeline of projects we are committed to bringing to screens around the globe. The animation market could not be stronger right now in China or globally. We believe Pearl Studio is in a very unique and enviable position to be a bold new independent voice in the animation community.”
Pearl Studio will be led by CEO Frank Zhu and chief creative officer Peilin Chou. The senior executive team also includes head of studio Dagan Potter, head of ancillary business PC Xu, and head of operation Cindy Zhou.
The studio’s first release will be Everest, the previously announced Dreamworks Animation film. The film will continue to be created in collaboration with Dreamworks and its parent company, NBCUniversal, and will be released worldwide in fall 2019.
A significant announcement in the press release about the formation of Pearl Studio is that Jill Culton (Monsters, Inc. story; Open Season co-director) will direct Everest. She was the film’s original director, but had been replaced midway through production by Tim Johnson and Todd Wilderman. Now, it turns out she’s back. (Wilderman is still on the film too as a co-director.)
Based on an original story by Culton, Everest follows a group of misfit adventurers in the Himalayas who encounter a young Yeti named Everest, and set out to reunite the Yeti with his family at the highest point on Earth. The film will be distributed by Universal Pictures around the globe, except China, where Pearl Studio will distribute.
Last fall, when the studio was still known as Oriental Dreamworks, the company announced a slate of other projects in development.