China has become one of the most important markets for the Walt Disney company, said Andy Bird, chairman of Walt Disney International, at a media event here Wednesday for the upcoming Disney fan event D23 Expo.
"China is incredibly important, where we have invested an enormous amount of time, people, resources and money, in growing our business over the last decades," said Bird. "One of the interesting things is China also has interesting stories to tell," he added.
In 2016, Disney scored a third straight year of the most profitable studio in Hollywood with 2.5 billion U.S. dollars in profit. The studio grossed 7.6 billion dollars in the global box office last year, with over 4.6 billion dollars from the overseas market.
China, as the world's second-largest movie market, has made an impressive contribution over the years, with 74 Disney movies imported so far.
"Good stories are universal," Bird told Xinhua. Good story-telling has always been Disney's key to success, "whether it's Beauty and the Beast, Pirates of the Caribbean, or Star Wars, or Marvel's Avengers, they are movies and stories that are popular among consumers in China, in Brazil, in France, in Italy, all over the world."
According to Bird, not only will more Disney movies come to China, but also more cooperation between Disney and China is in the cards. Disney is conscious of relating to Chinese consumers, whether it is telling Chinese stories, using Chinese actors or filming in China.
"We have two of the stars in 'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,' very big stars in China," Bird said, pointing out that "Rogue One" was one example of successful cooperation.
"Now, we are doing the pre-production for a remake of Mulan, which gives an opportunity to have Chinese talents and also to use Chinese locations."
Outside of the movie market, Shanghai Disney Resort has already hit over 11 million admissions in its first year, which exceeded Disney's forecasts and expectation. The 963-acre Resort is already expecting new attractions. Rather than plan on building another Disneyland in mainland China, Disney's first priority is to expand the Shanghai Disney Resort.
"We have enough land to dramatically expand Shanghai Disney Resort and add many new attractions, new lands," Bird said. "You will see those start to develop over time, starting with Toy Story Land which has been constructed as we speak."