How China is changing Hollywood


In the fourth Transformers movie, there’s
a scene where a random guy in an elevator helps Stanley Tucci beat someone up. That guy? Turns out he’s a Chinese boxer,
Zou Shiming – a world champion & gold medalist. Elsewhere in the movie, you’ll see a Chinese
milk box, and even a Chinese bank ATM in Texas of all places. If you didn’t recognize these references,
that’s because they weren’t meant for you. The growth of China’s middle class has created
a massive new market for the entertainment industry. Next year China’s box office revenue will
likely surpass the US, making it the largest movie market in the world. China has built 27 new cinema screens per
day on average this year, and as of November 2016, the country has more screens in total
than the 40,475 in the US. Obviously, the movie makers in Hollywood want
to reach those customers. Transformers 4, a movie criticized for making literally no
sense at all, was the only film in 2014 to collect over 1 billion dollars worldwide at
the box office, thanks to Chinese viewers. The problem is the Chinese government only
allows a certain number of foreign films into the country each year. And each one has to pass through the government’s
censorship agency. There’s kind of contradictory impulses. On
the one hand, China wants to be the best at everything. They want to succeed. On the other
hand, they want to promote what the leader is promoting. Chinese propaganda and socialist
core values. Before the 1990s, very few Hollywood movies
made it to Chinese audiences. The Chinese government had its own film industry
to distribute propaganda, but it was failing. In 1979 $23.9 billion tickets were purchased
in 1993 that dropped to $9.5 billion. In 1994 things started to change. The Fugitive
became the first new American film set for a general release to the Chinese public. It was so popular that scalpers outside theaters
were getting double the price of the ticket. One dollar and twenty-five cents.
Ten foreign movies were allowed in 1994. Since then, Hollywood has pushed the U.S. government
to continually negotiate for higher quotas. These days, a U.S. film typically makes it
into a Chinese movie theater in one of three ways. Through revenue-sharing, co-producing with
a Chinese company, or through a flat fee. The most common is the revenue-sharing model
where the studio gets 25% of the revenue. But only 34 foreign films per year are allowed. Over the last 10 years American films have
strategically incorporated positive Chinese story elements to bolster their chances of
being one of the films selected. In Red Dawn, the enemy was originally China
but was changed to North Korea in post production. In the film 2012 Oliver Platt says praising China for building arks in advance. World War Z the book had the virus start in
china due to illegal organ trade that’s not the case in the movie. In the Martian, the Chinese space industry
saves the day. The Chinese based Bona Film Group invested millions in the film. It’s important to note though that studios
don’t have to do this. Harry Potter is great example. If you look at the regulations in a very strict
sense, theoretically something like a Harry Potter film should not be shown because you’re
not supposed to have superstition and wizards and things like that. But it’s very hard to
deny the Chinese audience Harry Potter. There are two ways to get around the 34-film
limit. The least popular among big Hollywood studios
today is the flat-fee model because they’re selling the film at fraction of the cost and
China gets 100% of the ticket sales. The other option is co-producing the movie
with a Chinese company so that it’s not technically a foreign film. But co-productions
are the most tightly regulated, with strict guidelines on things like the film’s shooting
location and its finances. It has to also have at least ⅓ Chinese actors in the cast.
In short, China somehow has to play a significant role in the film, and it can’t be as the
villain! Drop your weapons! Or I kill the man! Before Looper was released its director and
studio partnered with DMG, a Chinese based entertainment company to help adapt the film
to a Chinese audience. DMG invested 40% in the film too. The script was re-written to
take place in Shanghai rather than its original location, Paris. But ultimately, separate American and Chinese
versions of Looper were released because the Chinese scenes in the film didn’t resonate
with U.S. and other international markets audiences. That’s always the issue when you’re dealing
with China and deciding on a co-production. As important as the China market is, it’s
not the only market. Ultimately China wants their own films to
outnumber and outplay their foreign competitors so they’re building their own Hollywood. It’s an $8.2 billion dollar investment slated
to open it’s doors in April 2017 from the same company that bought AMC in 2012 and subsequently
doubled their ticket sales. Sure, China will share their facilities with
U.S. studios but their doors are still only half open. That film quota that has held the
US at bay for the last two decades will also apply to Hollywood studios vying to book the
state of the art facilities.

100 comments

China is following the western capitalist model to participate in the Hollywood movie production. They follow all the rules and laws of US and therefore are allowed to be part of the American movie production. It’s a win-win situation. What’s wrong with that? Unless you take trump’s mentality which is “winner takes all”. We want to flood the Chinese market with American propagandas but at the same time, we will not allow Chinese investment so we can freely demonize China in our movies.

let’s just make a lot of feminist, system critical, liberal, LGBTQ movies, so they’ll be banned lol

Why is it contradictory that China wants to succeed and at the same time the leader is promoting what the leader wants to promote which is success?

If China doesnt want to play fairly, which they dont, the world should either rip them open, or completely close them off.

now the American Movies Where made in china all of commercial will look ridicolously Made in China

Now what Flex tape looks in china

Hello its Me Strong tape

Honestly funny how US producers bend over with Chine rules to shoot in China or have Chinese actors to be able to lend them in Athens Chinese market.. ridiculous.

That’s terrible I swear. China is literally taking over the world and they’re doing it by baiting us Americans with the money that is to be made by folding to their demands!

Its just an example of greed. America will do anything however unethical to the craft or art to make money.

Why china? Bcs they only want to watch movie with chinese in it. Hollywood sees it's profitable due to 1.3 billion people there to spend their money on movie. But, it's junk like why do I have to watch these ruined films

It's a big misconception that China can't make some great movies that have powerful messages to tell. In 2018 alone, I saw two great movies:" Dying to Survive" and "Lost, Found". Dying to survive is the story of a man who tries to bring cheap drugs to patients that really need them in China, a message about how the healthcare system needs some reform… Lost, Found exposes issues about the pressure on women within Chinese society and the kidnapping of children.

See, one of the reasons I don't watch these 'popular' films is that they do it all for money. And China is smart.

it's funny vox always describe china as somewhat a villian, dude the films, it's not about the china using hollywood, thats not the point. its the money. money talks. hollywood is not some holy place for art. its a place for money.

In the movie "Doctor Strange" the Ancient One is supposed yo be Tibetan but changed to Nepalese due to same reason.

Soon India will also become a Big Market for Hollywood as it lifts poverty and adds more people in Middle Class .

Thing is even though Asian countries may have made more money from films compared to western countries like the US, its only due to sheer volume of movies produced and the bigger population, but the quality and greatness of the asian movies are far worst, in my opinion.

This is something I never got up. Why should China allow unregulated access to foreign influences when they know that they have a very important market population on their hands? It's the height of stupidity to do otherwise.

Haha…All this Chinese pandering,you people do know that China's gonna start the biggest War this world will ever see…20 yrs i give em,MARK MY WORDS!!!

The Country which is killing people everywhere and its focus is to sell drugs and human killing items like weapons cannot remain in power. Cruelty of American is finish now. its time for China to improve the world.

China since around 200 BC has been the nation with the most people in the world. The Chinese have long known that the world comes to them; they don't need to come to the world. Mostly because China has historically had 1/4 to 1/3 of the Earth's total population. Now that China is regaining its crown as the biggest, most lucrative internal market in the world, they will protect it at all costs. Just like they have for the past 2,000 years.

Btw I am Vietnamese and we had a problem to Chinese for a thousand year (111 BC -938 AD) because They try to dominate Vietnam in the Ancient time so … Yeah, we hate the Chinese
And having the Chinese in a Movies is feel so frustrated and just like seeing a country too powerful and another country so weak (even Russia) so we don't like it

We think like chinese should be famous on there own film than we love it but Hollywood or Indian Bollywood movies that have Chinese people than they just ruined all the movies
Like Independence Day : Resurgence we prefer mid-part and hate Opening scene and the First-part , I can't even download the film for that reason

People shouldn't complain about product placement when they go see a big budget action/comedy blockbuster. That's exactly what you sign up for. Mainstream popcorn movies are only ever about making as much money as possible. If you want to watch films that actually want to tell a good story with creative integrity, go watch an indie film.

This is great and all but WHERE'S MY DRAGONBALL MOVIE!!! Marvel showed us there's money in superhero movies, produce a good live-action Dragonball movie already! Think about the money!!!

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