Lights! Camera! Action! A new Hollywood


In 2016, the live film adaptation of the famous video game Warcraft took a dismal $ 24million in its opening weekend in the US, revenue that fall Another 73 percent the following weekend to a paltry $ 6.5 million for a movie that cost $ 160 million to make. It was a widespread flop, both financially and critical, and yet there was no ruin scene from the studio or the film’s producers. In fact, they were probably popping champagne corks, because in another part of the world the movie was a huge hit. In China, Warcraft made $ 156 million in just five days.

The film benefited China-specific marketing by the production studio, which had been purchased by a Chinese conglomerate earlier in 2016, and also received the Golden Ticket for Chinese cinema by overcoming restrictions on foreign films. Since 1994, China has a Quota system for imported films, allowing only ten foreign films to be shown in the state each year under a revenue sharing system with the government. As Beijing prepared to enter the World Trade Organization in 2002, that quota was increased to 20, and a decade later, in 2012, the limit was increased to 34.

Foreign films are subject to censorship and must meet the challenge of Chinese Internet users.

Despite these official quotas, the number of shared-revenue films screened in Chinese cinemas has increased each year between 2015 and 2018, 42 of which were screened in 2018. Foreign producers receive 25% of box office revenue, but also have the option of selling their films directly to the government at a negotiated price using a flat-rate system. Under this deal, foreign producers forgo box office revenue. This quota-free option proved popular before the pandemic, with flat-rate films dropping from 29 in 2015 to 82 in 2019. Since, Diffusion has replaced film screenings, but China still only allows 30% of foreign content in this area.

Foreign films are also subject to censorship and must meet the challenge of Chinese Internet users. The trailer for the next one Top Gun following saw Japanese and Taiwanese flags deleted Tom Cruise’s iconic bomber jacket, and the actor Jean Cena asked forgiveness in Mandarin on their official Weibo account for calling Taiwan a country while promoting Fast & Furious 9. the movie won nearly $ 204 million in China and $ 173 million in the United States.

Chloé Zhao, born in Beijing, winner of the best director award for Nomadic country, poses at the 93rd Academy Awards, Los Angeles, California, April 25, 2021 (Matt Petit / AMPAS via Getty Images)

In early 2021, Beijing-born Chloé Zhao became the first Asian woman to win a Golden Globe for Best Director for the film. Nomadic country, and studios lobbied for media coverage to designate her as Chinese, rather than Asian-American, in the hope of leveraging his descendants in the Chinese market. The studio had to persuade a small magazine to remove a quote from a 2013 director’s profile in which she described China as a place “where there are lies everywhere”, but an archived version of the interview has surfaced. . The Chinese release of Nomadic country was canceled and mentions of Zhao were removed from behind the firewall.

The big screen seems to have become another battleground between East and West. In 2020, China has emerged as the world’s largest box office market, overtaking the United States, mainly due to the early reopening of theaters during the pandemic. Cinema screens have proliferated in the country, with over 6,000 in 2010 rising to over 75,000 in 2020, and the Chinese government is forecasting 100,000 by 2025. The State wants to be a “strong cinematic powerBy 2035, by increasing the supply of films bearing “patriotic intrigues”. A case in point is The Battle of Changjin Lake, which became the highest-grossing film in Chinese history in November 2021. The film tells the story of Chinese soldiers defeating American troops in a battle during the Korean War. In contrast, Chinese audiences haven’t seen a Marvel franchise film since. 2019.

Beijing has mandated the screening of propaganda films in 2021 and has asked organizations to promote “Xi Jinping Thought” in their selection of screenings.

Growing attention to domestic cinema allows China to capitalize on a film market that generated more than $ 9 billion in revenue before the 2018 pandemic, a figure that could reach $ 22 billion a year by now at 2025, and is supported with a strategy aimed at increasing film production and international presence. In addition to pushing for the production of patriotic cinema, Beijing has commissioned the screening of propaganda films in 2021 and called on organizations to promote “Xi Jinping Thought” in their selection of screenings. This ideology has already been implemented in the National program from elementary school to university. The government has taken other measures to control national values ​​and behavior, including bans on “”sissy men” and “extravagant pleasure”In popular culture, except crypto-currencies, controlling video game use and repress private lessons. Public figures whose actions go against these lines of the Chinese Communist Party have tended to disappear.

Hollywood studios have either kept quiet about these issues or have done a poor job of navigating – Disney 2020 movie credits Mulan thanked a Chinese government security agency that was accused the internment and mass torture of ethnic Muslim minorities in Xinjiang. The Chinese film industry also has its own dilemmas, mainly its dependence on the popularity of western movies to increase the number of audiences, but also the fact that opening more screens will not improve low cinema occupation. Yet its industry is growing in capacity and capacity and although its productions are not popular overseas, they may not need to be when Beijing backs up its message.

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