03/20/2012 03:40 EDT | Updated 05/19/2012 05:12 EDT

China's rise driving Hollywood's interest in Asian themes and financing, film veterans say

HONG KONG - Movie industry veterans say China's economic rise and growing international profile are spurring Hollywood's interest in movies using Asian themes and production money.

The screenwriter of the "Kung Fu Panda" movies, Glenn Berger, says Tuesday that China is a hot theme now in Hollywood and allows stories to be told in new and unusual ways.

Hollywood producer Tracey Trench says big movie studios are definitely paying more attention to Asia, especially China.

Studio executives are interested in co-production deals with Chinese production houses to cut costs.

Trench says they're also hoping co-produced movies will get past China's quota on foreign films. China's box office takings surged 30 per cent in 2011 to $2 billion dollars.