China’s Bona Film Group, producer of such hits as The Battle At Lake Changjin, made its debut on the Shenzhen stock exchange on Thursday, with shares closing the day at RMB 7.24 ($1.07). This was a 44% increase from the initial public offering price of RMB 5.03 ($0.74) per share and put the market capitalization at just under RMB 10B ($1.47B), according to the South China Morning Post. The company raised RMB 1.38B ($203M) from the deal.
Bona returned to the China exchange after exiting the Nasdaq and going private in 2016. It had previously become the first Chinese film studio to trade on the Nasdaq beginning in 2010.
During the pandemic, Bona was behind China’s top-grossing movie ever, The Battle At Lake Changjin and its sequel, The Battle At Lake Changjin II (aka Water Gate Bridge). Collectively, the patriotic films grossed RMB 9.83B ($1.45B at current rates) in China.
In an interview posted to Bona’s website earlier this week, Chairman and founder Yu Dong, who controls a 20.5% stake in Bona, said, “In April 2016, I officially bid farewell to the Nasdaq and embarked on the road to return to A shares. On the way back, we have walked for more than seven years, it has been really hard. Although it has been a long time, it does not affect the development of Bona Films, nor does it affect the filmmaking of Bona Films, because focusing on the main business is the innate gene of Bona Films.”
Looking ahead, Yu added, “In the next 15 years, we will attract global talents and make good use of capital to make good Chinese stories… Only with the help of capital can Chinese films continue to be supplemented and expanded, with more funds to shoot better films, attract global talents to tell Chinese stories well, and expand our influence to the world.”
This has been a rocky year for box office in China overall, with the summer starting out slowly as a Covid spike forced closures earlier this year in Shanghai and Beijing. Per state media, however, the period has now edged last year’s three-month tally with RMB 7.382B ($1.09B) as of Saturday. Contributing to the rebound were Universal/Amblin’s Jurassic World Dominion becoming the biggest import of the year at over $157M, and local pics Lighting Up The Stars (RMB 1.7B/$250M) and Moon Man (RMB 2.54B/$374M) through Wednesday. Universal/Illumination’s Minions: The Rise Of Gru opens tomorrow.