Three PR firms are handling the launch of a Hollywood studio venture backed by China's Hony Capital, private equity firm TPG, and veteran producers Robert Simonds and Gigi Pritzker.

hollywoodThe group said it will finance, produce and distribute from eight to 10 "star-driven" theatrical films globally per year. The partners said they plan to pour more than $1B into production over the next five years.

"Star-driven, mid-budget films are an underserved market," said Simonds, who sees the group's experience in that niche providing leverage to partner with traditional distributors in North America, expand in a vast Chinese market, and capitalize on still-developing digital channels. He produced "Cheaper By the Dozen," "The Pink Panther," and "The Waterboy," among others.

Abernathy MacGregor Group reps Simonds. Owen Blicksilver PR is firm for TPG Growth, while Pritzker relies on Paul Pflug's Principal Communications Group.

Pritzker's credits include "Ender's Game," "Drive," and the Jon Stewart-directed "Rosewater."

Beijing-based Hony Capital, a unit of China's largest private equity firm by assets, Legend Holdings, is the "anchor" investor and has aligned with Chinese film and TV production giant SMG Pictures. Hony said it is the first investment a Chinese company has made into a Hollywood studio.

Former Viacom Entertainment COO takes that same title with the new venture, while ex-Crest Animation CEO Noah Fogelson is EVP of corporate development and general counsel. 

The new studio has inked agreements with theater chains AMC Theaters, Regal Entertainment Group, Cinemark and Carmike.