With China’s box office takings expected to return to near pre-pandemic highs in 2021, the world’s largest movie market is becoming more attractive -- and more tricky -- for Hollywood studios.
This is a very good piece on China's growing BO while the BO for the ROTW is actually diminishing due to covid and we have no idea how it'll be post covid. China's BO post covid already has two huge hits, including two films that have surpassed the 600MM mark in China alone. There are very few films that have hit that mark in one territory. China just had two this past month alone.
Things I found interesting:
Basically China doesn't have to accept any US movie if they don't want to whereas before they had to accept 34 movies per year. That's been the case for awhile, but as their BO market continues to mature I am thinking Hollywood will have a harder time breaking there besides the big blockbusters that are popular there. Star Wars, for example, will probably be rejected for release on the market. It also means that Hollywood wanting greater than 25% share of the receipts is probably a tough ask that they probably won't bend.The legal framework for Hollywood studios to get their films into China has also become less certain. An agreement with the U.S. that saw China import at least 34 films a year expired in 2017 and hasn’t been renewed or renegotiated. While the Chinese government has continued to allow American movies in, it could pull the plug on that access any time, particularly if it decides to use it as a diplomatic lever with new U.S. President Joe Biden.
“China’s market is now central to any major release,” said Aynne Kokas, a professor of media studies at the University of Virginia. “Diminishing market share presents a worrying picture for Hollywood studios” that may have been relying on China to recoup blockbusters’ budgets, she said.
Movies like Transformers, Venom, Warcraft, etc that relied on China to recoup costs may have a harder time going forward. Familia 9 will be okay because they love Vin Diesel and The Rock there, but even super hero movies will probably not be. WW84 had a big drop from WW and I'm not sure blaming it solely on covid paints a complete picture there with numbers from Hi Mom and DC3.
This line is worrying as we may see more and more pandering towards China as their BO market is now the biggest in the world. I have thought that studios would have two cuts of movies going forward, one for the international market and one for China. Think Deadpool 2 for international markets and Once Upon a Deadpool for China. However most studios may choose to just have one cut as that will be cheaper, and with just one most won't want to ignore the Chinese market potential.“Monster Hunter,” directed by Paul W.S. Anderson and backed by Sony Corp., was pulled from some cinemas in China after a social media backlash over a dialog that, according to some viewers, was similar to a playground taunt against people of Asian descent. The movie’s co-producer apologized and edited out that line.