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Golden Harvest (Chinese: ????????) SEHK: 1132 is a film production, distribution, and exhibition company based in Hong Kong. It played a major role in becoming the first Chinese film company to successfully enter the western market with staying power. At the same time, it dominated HK box office sales from the 1970s to 1980s.
Notable names in the company include its founders, the veteran film producers Raymond Chow (???) and Leonard Ho Koon Cheung (???). Chow and Ho were executives with Hong Kong’s top studio, Shaw Brothers, but left in 1970 to form their own studio. They succeeded by taking a different approach from the highly centralized Shaws model. Golden Harvest contracted with independent producers and gave talent more generous pay and greater creative freedom. Some filmmakers and actors from Shaws defected. But what really put the company on the map was a 1971 deal with soon-to-be martial arts superstar Bruce Lee, after he had turned down the low-paying, standard contract offered him by the Shaws.
In 1973, Golden Harvest entered into a pioneering co-production with Hollywood for the English-language Lee film Enter the Dragon (????), a worldwide hit made with the Warner Brothers studio.
Golden Harvest supplanted Shaw Brothers as Hong Kong’s dominant studio by the end of the ’70s and retained that position into the ’90s. Its greatest asset for years was that from the 1980s until very recently, it produced almost all of the films of Jackie Chan, Asia’s top box office star. Golden Harvest has also produced a number of films for Jet Li and Donnie Yen.
The Company was listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in 1994. Li Ka-shing and EMI became shareholder of the company in 2004.
Golden Harvest’s activity has declined in recent years. In 2003, they withdrew from film-making to concentrate on film financing, distribution and cinema management in Hong Kong and in Mainland China.