Chinese Box Office Will Hit Almost $5 Billion As China Goes Gaga Over All Things Hollywood

Posted: November 4, 2014 in Society and Culture

SEE ALSO:  China Is Buying Up Italy One Company At A Time


Why Americans Should Care That The Chinese Box Office Will Hit Almost $5 Billion This Year

11/03/2014

This year, the Chinese box office is expected to hit $4.9 billion which would be the biggest box office of all time in China.  According to a report  from the Chinese Film Producer’s Association, 51.4% of those films were made in China, the other 48.6% were foreign, mostly from the U.S.

That means that the Chinese market has grown to almost half the size of the American film market where domestic ticket sales in 2013 totaled $10.9 billion. And it’s only going to get bigger. China was the first market outside of the U.S. to spend more than $3 billion per year on tickets and  roughly 13 new cinemas are build in China every day.

Expect these numbers to have a huge affect on American movies going forward. Studios are falling over themselves to get bigger pieces of the Chinese pie but it’s not easy. China has a strict quota on how many American films can be shown in theaters each year. Right now only 34 foreign films are allowed to screen in China annually. That number should grow by 2018 but in the meantime, American studios are trying to get more films into Chinese theaters by partnering with Chinese production companies to make movies that can be categorized as Chinese instead of foreign. Legendary, the company behind movies like The Dark Knight, Godzilla and The Hangover movies, has a Chinese division. Dreamworks Animation is building a studio in Shanghai and Paramount has partnered with China Movie Channel.

Paramount’s Transformers: Age of Extinction, is a prime example of what we’ll see from more and more movies in the next few years. Parts of the movie were filmed in China and Chinese actor Li Bingbing had a big role in the movie. While the film earned only $245.4 million in the U.S., it brought in $841.8 million from overseas. According to Box Office Mojo, $301 million of that came from China.

Expect to see more movies taking place in China and featuring Chinese actors. China’s definition of what makes a movie Chinese instead of foreign is slippery. Just as Hollywood producers think they have a good handle on the needed elements, the rules change. From The Hollywood Reporter:

For studios, the immediate question is: What do the Chinese really want? When it comes to co-productions, U.S. studios have learned that injecting a few Chinese elements into a film does not suffice. DMG Entertainment, the Chinese company that partnered with Disney’s Marvel on Iron Man 3, had touted the movie as a co-production, but questions arose as to whether the film would meet China’s ill-defined criteria. (One problem: Ben Kingsley plays a villain called The Mandarin.) Marvel ultimately decided not to seek co-production status; instead it will release a tailored version of the film in China.

But studios aren’t going to stop trying. As they struggle to figure out what China wants, that criteria is going to become almost as important as what American audiences want and that will be reflected in the stories, locations and actors we see in future films. Next time you see a giant blockbuster film with a huge section set in China, you can be sure it’s all about earning more yuan.

SOURCE: http://www.forbes.com/sites/dorothypomerantz/2014/11/03/why-americans-should-care-that-the-chinese-box-office-will-hit-almost-5-billion-this-year/

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