DMG Entertainment a Chinese-“American” media studio that once co-financed a Marvel Cinematic Universe film for Chinese distribution, and was one of China’s first media and film companies to IPO in the Mainland; now sits in existential limbo of continuation.
After co-financing the 2013 Marvel Studio release Iron Man 3 and being its “distributor” in China, and co-financing the breakout surprise sci-fi cult hit Looper. DMG Ent. was one of the first film or media companies to list on the then burgeoning China stock exchanges.
Listing in 2014 on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange raising $500MMUSD at a valuation of $5BnUSD. A massive valuation that many would say was highly overvalued, for a company that went from an advertising and media agency, to only having one real financial hit under its belt, Looper.
As their share from Iron Man 3‘s China box-office take would have been minimal compared to their investment into the film – even for a film that was one of the biggest hits of the summer in the Middle Kingdom. As they would have been sharing the box-office take with the powerful China Film Group itself, as they were its real “official” distributor since the film fell under the 25 films per year quota system.
This editor was among those pundits who questioned DMG’s high IPO valuation.
Since their 2014 IPO DMG has made a series of poor film investment choices, from the remake of Point Break, that nobody asked for, and the Johnny Depp sci-fi bomb Transcendence, to the more moderately successful comedy Blockers.
They even made a major announcement to bring themed Transformers attractions to China, that have yet to solidify – and probably never will!
From being one of the most valuable entertainment companies in Mainland China to having its SZSE listing seeing a sharp decline, especially over the last year, dropping to $930MM in valuation.
In China DMG Ent. (its American name) is known as Yinji Entertainment & Media Company, which is how it is listed in Shenzhen. With its ticker relisted as “ST YINJI” or “Special Treatment” Yinji, a warning to investors from regulators that this stock is been labeled as “high risk.”
The ST listing either refers to a company that has been at loss for more than a two-year period or is at risk of being de-listed. Which of these is the culprit for DMG’s labeling is unclear, but from what is known about DMG over the past few years it could be either-or.
In the minds of this editor, it’s probably both.
Currently DMG and their former Head of Motion Pictures Chris Fenton are both suing one-another for $30MM. With Fenton claiming he was cut out of his share of the IPO profits, while DMG claiming Fenton used DMG’s clout to pass himself off as a Hollywood-China player. Neglecting his fiduciary duties while cultivating himself, while DMG lost millions.
It is not stated by DMG / Yijin that their losses in the millions (tens of millions?) were caused by Fenton’s actions, but states that he neglected basic managerial duties and took credit from others work.
Either way, with the two-counter lawsuits it is clear that DMG is on the precipice of being the next LeEco / LeTV. A once growing Chinese media and entertainment conglomerate that, due to overspending, poor founder oversight and management, and risky poor decisions, is at risk of completely disappearing.
From bids for major Hollywood studios like Paramount Pictures, that were in the billions, to other deals that were shot down by a year long review in Taiwan. It seems like the Dan Mintz and his two Chinese partners, Peter Xiao and Wu Bing, were playing with money that DMG / Yinji never truly had. But, dreamed they had over a game of Chinese Monopoly.
Little is known about Co-Founder & CEO of DMG Ent. Dan Mintz, and American from New York who has been in China since 1990 and co-founded DMG in 1993 as an ad agency. He attempted to brand himself in a couple of native advertisements around the times of Iron Man 3 and Looper‘s releases as “Hollywood’s Mr. China”.
If Chris Fenton is to be believed, their spending habits, from things like experimental rejuvenation treatments to private jets, its a surprise DMG is even able to be moving forward with their Valiant Comics properties.
Which is the point of this article, their full acquisition of Valiant Entertainment a little over a year ago and the pushing out of CEO / Founder Dinesh Shamdasani, what is going to happen to the Third Biggest Shared Superhero Universe in world behind DC and Marvel?
With Bloodshot featuring Vin Diesel in the lead role still reported to be coming from Sony Pictures, and Dan Mintz doing a media campaign here just recently on YouTube on the DMG Ent. channel and on places like HeroicHollywood.com it seems as if he is attempting to salvage the only thing that could possibly keep his 26 year old company afloat.
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About the Author
Born and raised in the Missouri-Ozarks Ryan studied Film Production, and East Asian Culture, at the University of Kansas where he was a UGRA recipient that led him on a seven-year long, Journey From the West, to China. Where he worked with Warner Brothers, the China Film Group Corp. and the National Bureau of Statistics of China. Before returning to the States, where he specializes in Chinese Anime & Comics, China’s Box-Office, and Chinese entertainment-tech industries. He has a dog in China, Abigail, and a dog in the Arkansas-Ozarks, King Blue, who help ease his anxiety of suffering from the “Two-Dimensional Complex” that is trying to understand the Culture Industry landscapes of the Middle Kingdom.