Is China re­ally chang­ing Hol­ly­wood?

China Daily (Canada) - - DEPTH -

Amy He

ticket prices were ad­justed around Lu­nar New Year, con­sumer de­mand went down.

“They weren’t as will­ing to buy movie tick­ets that were nor­mal prices, so we saw a lit­tle bit of a slow­down from that,” said Papish.

More ag­gres­sive ac­count­ing prac­tices also went into ef­fect this year af­ter reg­u­la­tors looked into claims that dis­trib­u­tors and pro­duc­ers were ma­nip­u­lat­ing box of­fice sta­tis­tics in their fa­vor. Ip Man 3, a mar­tial arts movie star­ring Don­nie Yen and Mike Tyson, was in­ves­ti­gated on a claim that it had in­flated sales num­bers. is still look­ing for a recipe for a hit, for a way to best cap­ture the at­ten­tion of a “fickle mar­ket,” but Papish said that he doesn’t think “many lessons were learned in 2016 or 2015, un­for­tu­nately.”

Kokas echoed Papish’s sen­ti­ments: “We may be see­ing some kind of fa­tigue of Amer­i­can big bud­get block­busters — they’re not get­ting the same num­bers as they once did.”

Though movies get­ting re­leased in the next year or two have al­ready been in the mak­ing for years, Hol­ly­wood can go for­ward by in­vest­ing more in the Chi­nese film in­dus­try and fo­cus­ing on movies that the Chi­nese like, as op­posed to repack­ag­ing movies meant for a West­ern au­di­ence and at times pan­der­ing to Chi­nese au­di­ences with one-off Chi­nese ac­tors or product place­ment, Kokas said.

Money into money

“I think money putting money into do­mes­tic films is one op­tion, and I think also mak­ing bet­ter movies in Hol­ly­wood is an­other op­tion, and a more di­verse range of movies, more specif­i­cally, which run very much against the cur­rent rev­enue model, but we may be com­ing to the point where that rev­enue model needs to change,” she said.

An­a­lysts have said that Dis­ney has been bet­ter at adapt­ing to the Chi­nese mar­ket than other stu­dios, which may play out in the box of­fice next month with the re­lease of Star Wars spinoff Rogue One. The movie cast two of China’s big­gest stars, Don­nie Yen and Jiang Wen, in ma­jor roles in­stead of what other stu­dios have been do­ing, putting Chi­nese ac­tors and ac­tresses in pe­riph­eral roles that serve no plot-driv­ing func­tion.

USC’s Rosen said sim­i­larly that Hol­ly­wood needs to drop the “one size fits all” at­ti­tude: “One thing that Hol­ly­wood can do is to part­ner with Chi­nese com­pa­nies to do lo­cal lan­guage films — which some of them are al­ready do­ing — and not worry about the in­ter­na­tional mar­ket for those kinds of films, but treat the China mar­ket as a sep­a­rate mar­ket and make films for that mar­ket alone.”

Con­tact the writer at amyhe@china dai­


As the film was get­ting ready to meet Chi­nese au­di­ences in March, peo­ple pass a poster out­side a cin­ema in Zhengzhou, cap­i­tal of He­nan prov­ince.

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