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'Dark Knight' producer to make big-budget films with Chinese company

(Reuters) - "The Dark Knight Rises" producer Thomas Tull will join with China's largest film production and distribution company to make big-budget films for release throughout the world, Tull's Legendary East studio said on Thursday.

The Chinese company, China Film Co, is majority-owned by state-owned China Film Group, Legendary East said.

With 2012 ticket sales of $2.7 billion, China is the second-largest film market in the world, after the United States, according to the trade group Motion Picture Association of America.

Legendary East and China Film did not identify planned film projects or the amounts each side would contribute to the joint venture, other than to say they plan to fund "multiple pictures over an initial three-year term."

The films will be distributed outside China by another Tull company, Los Angeles-based Legendary Entertainment.

Legendary Entertainment, which produces big-budget films such as the "Dark Knight" Batman series and this summer's "Man of Steel," is negotiating with Hollywood studios for a new deal to replace its long-standing distribution agreement with Time Warner Inc's Warner Brothers studio.

A Warner Brothers spokesman had no comment.

(Reporting By Ronald Grover; editing by John Wallace)

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