Overseas and Hong Kong film companies are hoping to partner mainland production studios in a bid to enter the lucrative but restricted mainland market. United States film giant Miramax said it would make co-shoot films in China in order to get around the regulatory barrier that allows only 20 foreign films to be shown each year in mainland cinemas. 'The China market is tough,' said Matt Brodlie, Miramax's senior vice-president of acquisitions. 'We hope to co-produce films in China if circumstances allow.' Miramax shot most of director Quentin Tarantino's long-awaited Kill Bill in Beijing, despite the fact that much of its plot takes place in Japan. Mr Brodlie said the cost of building a studio in China was significantly cheaper than in Japan. An added benefit with co-producing films on the mainland is that they can be unveiled there in tandem with their global launch, frustrating would-be pirates. 'We now try to release our films in China and Hong Kong simultaneously,' said Koris Ha, distribution manager of Universe Films Distribution. 'If we waited, pirated copies would be widely available across China.' Under the closer economic partnership arrangement, Hong Kong films co-produced on the mainland will be treated as local films. And Hong Kong companies will be entitled to 30 to 35 per cent of the box office take, compared with 12 to 15 per cent previously.