China’s Dalian Wanda Group will buy a controlling stake in Hollywood film studio Legendary Entertainment in a deal valued at $3.5bn （2.4bn pounds）.
The announcement, made at a press conference by both firms in Beijing, comes after a week of rumours about a possible deal.
Wanda is the world’s biggest movie theatre operator with a majority stake in the US chain AMC.
The rapidly growing group is led by China’s richest man Wang Jianlin. Mr Wang has been looking to buy a Hollywood studio for several years and was reported to be in talks with DreamWorks Animation last year, but a deal was not announced.
Legendary is the maker of blockbuster hits such as Jurassic World, the Dark Knight Batman trilogy and Godzilla.
Chairman and chief executive Thomas Tull, who also started the company, will remain as the head of the studio. Buying Legendary Entertainment puts Wanda on the road to becoming a global media company and one of the world’s biggest players in movie production. It already owns China’s biggest chain of cinemas as well as cinemas in the United States.
But will it compromise artistic standards by leading to films which have to please too many people?
Wanda’s founder and chairman, Wang Jianlin, told the BBC that Hollywood films would have to adapt to the Chinese market if they wanted to succeed there: "I think this is very normal because US companies want to grab a share in the Chinese high-growth market. They should do something to cater to Chinese audiences’ interests — if they don’t, there might be trouble".
The new combined operation is making a movie about the Great Wall, featuring Matt Damon with Chinese director, Zhang Yimou. It’s due for release this year.
But the enlarged media company is expected to steer clear of any movies that might fall foul of the strict censorship of political matters in China.
Wanda described the deal as "China’s largest cross-border cultural acquisition to date". It is aimed at increasing ties between Hollywood and the world’s fastest growing movie market, China. The Chinese conglomerate said that Legendary’s films have grossed over $12bn globally.
Mr Wang said he plans to pair the Hollywood studio with its in-house film production unit and make a stock market listing. A timeline for the launch an initial public offering （IPO） was not given.