BEIJING, Nov. 9 -- World media giant Warner Brothers
will pull out of its cinema business in China's mainland following regulatory
restrictions that ban it from controlling its domestic joint ventures.
The move will affect six theaters operated by Warner
Bros International Cinemas - including a planned cinema complex in downtown
Shanghai that was supposed to become the city's version of Hollywood's Walk of
New regulations issued by the central government late
last year required that "Chinese mainland investors must own at least 51 percent
or play a leading role in their joint ventures with foreign investors".
The rules were a drastic change from a 2003
regulation that opened seven cities, to majority overseas investment up to 75
percent of a cinema on a trial basis.
Company officials refused to disclose how much WBIC
has already invested in its cinema business in the mainland.
Total box office revenue from the company's mainland
theaters was 120 million yuan (US$15 million) last year, compared with a total
market of two billion yuan.