BEIJING: Oscar-winning directorsaid on Wednesday that he will open a joint venture in China to provide 3-D filming technology, the latest move by Hollywood to secure a foothold in the country's booming movie industry.
Box office revenues -- growing by leaps and bounds in China thanks to its fast-growing middle class -- have whet Hollywood's appetite despite complaints over government restrictions on access to screens, content control and piracy.
CPG China Division, the new arm of Cameron Pace Group, will offer Chinese film makers three-dimensional camera technology but will not be involved immediately in producing films, Cameron told Reuters in an interview.
"We're not going to tell Chinese film makers how to make movies. We are going to help them make a transition to 3D production technology as cost effectively as possible, and in a way that doesn't inhibit creativity," he said.
Three-dimensional films, which enhance depth perception by being shot from two perspectives, gained in popularity during the 2000s and achieved a breakthrough with Cameron's 2009 blockbuster "Avatar", a movie about blue aliens which set a $2.8 billion box office global earnings record.
Cameron also directed the second-highest grossing film of all time, the nautical disaster-romance starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, "Titanic".
Cameron said the deal was "huge", though he would not give details on the amount of the investment or the venture's equity split with two state-owned entities -- film distributor Tianjin North Film Group and Tianjin Hi-tech Holding Group.
"This is a huge investment for us, as much in sweat equity ... as it is financially," he said, noting that initial projects to "build muscle" will focus on 3-D films highlighting Chinese cities.
The Cameron Pace Group, formed 12 years ago with camera guru Vince Pace, earned $58 million last year renting its 3-D cameras to crews producing films, concert videos and sports broadcasts.
A die-hard proponent of expanding 3-D viewership, Cameron said the ambitions of the Chinese partners, as well as Chinese state television eager to try out live 3-D broadcast technology, exceeded even his own.
"We think we're on the verge of a kind of media revolution. And we certainly have the enabling technology, we have the methodology, we've honed our skills."