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Hollywood Struggles for Fans in China’s Growing Film Market

Sep 19, 2015
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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:
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.
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.

“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.

“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.
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.
 
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May 8, 2019
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North America continues to allow itself to be bought by China. In terms of movies, this became noticeable at least a decade ago.

It's obvious when you pay attention to those studio bumpers at the beginning of a movie and/or names of producers in the credits.

AMC Theaters was bought by Chinese giant Dalian Wanda Group in 2012.
 
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Jan 17, 2014
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They have software that pretty much collects all the scenes filmed for a movie and only plays certain ones or alternate cuts based on demographic or location. Gonna be perfect for China.
 
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Goro Majima

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Sep 2, 2007
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Doubling down on Chinese pandering may turn off an already dwindling western audience that would rather just sit at home and watch streaming content.

It’s wild to think there was a time when “blockbuster movies” mostly depended entirely on a US/Canadian domestic market and international was just gravy. I know we can never go back to that because Hollywood would have to be completely restructured for that to happen again.
 
Mar 3, 2014
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I feel that Hollywood should try working their way into a mutually beneficial relationship with Bollywood instead. CCP's grib on the Chinese market made it simply not worth the trouble to try pandering that side. working with India and tapping that market would be much better IMO. I know they already shown Hollywood movies there. but I feel the India market still has plenty of room for growth. and that's without the baggage of worrying about CCP and their fragile sensitivity.
 

sol_bad

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Jan 17, 2006
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The point about Hollywood editing their films to be China safe is an issue the rest of the world has already had to put up with. The world loves Hollywood films and the majority of the rest of the world is not as strict with it's rating system. Many R rated films get released in Australia as M or MA15+ for example. It's an absolute joke that The Matrix is R rated in America.

So yeah, the world has had to put up with Hollywood censoring itself to fit in the PG13 category for mass appeal.
 
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Soodanim

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Feb 24, 2012
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Which are the ones that appeal to China, the smaller ones that aren’t Hollywood blockbusters, or the big ones that make hundreds of millions in profit anyway?
 

Whoateallthepies

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Sep 21, 2018
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Which are the ones that appeal to China, the smaller ones that aren’t Hollywood blockbusters, or the big ones that make hundreds of millions in profit anyway?

China has pretty shitty taste in US movies.


 
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michaelius

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Jan 5, 2012
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The point about Hollywood editing their films to be China safe is an issue the rest of the world has already had to put up with. The world loves Hollywood films and the majority of the rest of the world is not as strict with it's rating system. Many R rated films get released in Australia as M or MA15+ for example. It's an absolute joke that The Matrix is R rated in America.

So yeah, the world has had to put up with Hollywood censoring itself to fit in the PG13 category for mass appeal.

I'm not sure it's actually bad. As long as they have to keep Chinese audience in mind it keeps Holywood in check and stops them from making movies being 100% political.
 
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Lupingosei

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Oct 24, 2017
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I am sure Hollywood will win the Chinese crowd over in no time with the new batch of hyper woke movies they are planning.
 

GeorgPrime

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Jan 9, 2020
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Just get a chinese film maker to Hollywood. Let him create a chinese fantasy movie based on hollywood standards and chinese actors / american chinese actors and then bring it to china.
 

Rockmaninoff

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Jan 18, 2021
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Hollywood also dumbs down storylines because they think the Chinese won't get it. There was some interview with some producer who said they dumb down the dialogue and character development, so they are out there, actively making the movies worse. I'm sure the Chinese moviegoers can all see right past all the pandering and dumbing down - they're not stupid.
 

Mista K

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Oct 5, 2010
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Hollywood also dumbs down storylines because they think the Chinese won't get it. There was some interview with some producer who said they dumb down the dialogue and character development, so they are out there, actively making the movies worse. I'm sure the Chinese moviegoers can all see right past all the pandering and dumbing down - they're not stupid.
Actually no. Many chinese people prefer a blunt approach when it comes to characters and humor. It’s why Detective Chinatown is so successful there, where as it would fall flat in the west
 
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Ten_Fold

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Jan 18, 2017
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Basically if anyone makes fun of Chinese people, or at this point they get attacked the movie gotta be edited? I mean the u.s could just replace black actors with Asian ones, but will probably receive backlash from both sides depending on the role.

It’s gonna be tough to make movies that appeal to the u.s and China.
 

paypay88

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Jan 13, 2018
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China made great movies back in day like kung fu flicks still one of my favorite movies some of them atleast. I don't get this stupid ass shit " China wouldnt get stories". Like your average american gets it ? dont get it really , they get Dubbed & subtitled anyway whats the problem
 

jason10mm

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Feb 3, 2009
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Be interesting to see if/when studios just abandon a potential chinese viewable film or how long they keep trying (stuff like setting a scene in china, casting a big chinese actor for a bit part, no skeletons, etc).

Personally i think streaming and the acceptance of monthly mediocre content just to justify that $12/mo subscription is a far greater threat to quality visionary films than just trying to get into China.
 

Tuff McNutt

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China made great movies back in day like kung fu flicks still one of my favorite movies some of them atleast. I don't get this stupid ass shit " China wouldnt get stories". Like your average american gets it ? dont get it really , they get Dubbed & subtitled anyway whats the problem

The majority of those older movies were actually made in Hong Kong, which had very lax censorship laws compared to Mainland China. Once HK was handed back over to China in 1997, technically the censorship laws have not changed, but now the HK film market is almost totally dependent on the Mainland for production money and box office, so the latest movies are basically pandering safe historical dramas, weepy romances, or wuxia (fantasy kung fu) based on old novels. You don't see the good old violent cop/martial arts, raunchy comedies, or gory horror movies from there now like you did back in the 70s-90s, where HK was producing 100+ movies a year.

A lot of the concern about content going to Mainland China isn't from the population; most of them love "traditional" American movies and if a film isn't officially shown there, you can easily find a bootleg copy. The Mainland government censors/limits films very heavily, like you can't mention certain people, cops always have to be shown as heroic, "bad guys" can't win, no religion or "occult" themes, etc. And a lot of Chinese movies have pretty complicated stories, it's more that the acting looks cheesy/melodramatic to a lot of westerners, so they think that the Chinese like "dumb" movies.

Be interesting to see if/when studios just abandon a potential chinese viewable film or how long they keep trying (stuff like setting a scene in china, casting a big chinese actor for a bit part, no skeletons, etc).

Personally i think streaming and the acceptance of monthly mediocre content just to justify that $12/mo subscription is a far greater threat to quality visionary films than just trying to get into China.

The US film industry has had its head in the sand for many years why box office receipts are going down. Even going back to the 80s, they were trying to blame VCRs, then you had internet piracy, then streaming, now it's China.

Basically it comes down to that for the average viewer, going to movies is too expensive for films that really aren't that great.
 
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Aug 28, 2019
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Personally i think streaming and the acceptance of monthly mediocre content just to justify that $12/mo subscription is a far greater threat to quality visionary films than just trying to get into China.

Streaming makes more than enough money to justify actual quality content, and it's only getting bigger..

They just aren't attracting the talent due to many in Hollywood being snobs about theaters. The TV industry doesn't have that same issue, hence why there have been some really high quality series on Netflix and other streaming services.

Hollywood will eventually follow as I don't think the theater industry is ever quite going to be the same. For now they are just selling off projects to Netflix that they think would be flops.
 
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