News / USA

    China-Hollywood Connection Changes Movie Business

    China has become the world's second-largest market for films, after North America, and China's box office revenues are growing by 30 percent a year. The country also is expanding its joint ventures in entertainment, and it is changing the way Hollywood does business.

    A foreign army invaded the United States in last year's remake of Red Dawn. But producers made a change before the film was released.  The story of Americans fighting off invaders originally had Chinese soldiers as the villains. Now, they're North Koreans. The filmmaker did not want to offend Chinese audiences, or censors.

    Films shot or shown in China are reviewed by a board of censors, and the spy thriller Skyfall was a recent film that had scenes cut. The science fiction film Cloud Atlas lost 40 minutes, mostly scenes showing sex and violence. Films also are cut if they have negative references to China or its government.

    Some big action films have a direct China connection.  

    The upcoming adventure Iron Man 3 was partly filmed in China, so its script was subject to scrutiny by Chinese officials. Chinese sensibilities also influence other films, like the disaster tale 2012, says Stanley Rosen at the University of Southern California. He studies China's film industry.

    “Even if you're not shooting in China, a film like 2012 will be very careful to include positive references to China. Negative references will simply kill the market.”

    Chinese audiences love big movies with special effects. Hollywood films account for half of the receipts from Chinese theaters, and Chinese officials last year raised the annual quota of film imports from 20 to 34.

    Chinese moviegoers loved the recent Life of Pi, the story of an Indian boy shipwrecked with a Bengal tiger, from Taiwan-born director Ang Lee.   

    Lee also has brought Chinese-themed stories to international audiences. His Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon won the Oscar for best foreign language film in 2001.

    Chinese-born actress Lisa Lu has a long history in Hollywood. She played China's dowager empress in Bernardo Bertolucci's 1987 epic The Last Emperor, a Chinese co-production mostly filmed in China.

    She said today's international market has created solid roles for Asian actors.

    That was not true in the 1950s.

    “All they wrote were either laborers or wash women or dragon lady who has a restaurant,” said Lu.

    China's growing middle class has given a boost to the country's domestic film industry. Last year's comedy Lost in Thailand from director Xu Zheng was the second all time earning film in China, after the Hollywood blockbuster Avatar.

    Lu said China is an attractive filming location with low production costs and great facilities.

    “You go there and you can have everything that you need,” she said.

    Stanley Rosen said more Hollywood studios are finding Chinese partners for co-productions, and Disney and DreamWorks Animation are investing in tourist attractions in Shanghai.

    “It's an evolving relationship, and Hollywood needs China, as the North American market has been flat. But China needs Hollywood, as well, as you see with DreamWorks going in, Disney going in,” said Rosen.

    And China is coming to Hollywood. The Chinese company TCL has purchased the right to rename the historic Grauman's Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard,. And the Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group has bought a major American theater chain, AMC. The ties between China and Hollywood are expected to grow further in the future.

    You May Like

    Taj Mahal Battles New Threat from Insects

    Swarms of insects are proliferating in the heavily contaminated waters of the Yamuna River, which flows behind the 17th century monument

    Self-doubt, Cultural Barriers Hinder Cambodian Women in Tech

    Longtime Cambodian tech observer Sok Sikieng says that although more women have joined profession in recent years, there remain significant factors hindering women from reaching tech potential

    Trans-Adriatic Pipeline to Boost European Energy Security

    $4.5 billion-pipeline will become operational in 2020 and will deliver gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz II field to southern Italy

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Jonathan Huang from: canada
    January 27, 2013 7:13 PM
    We call that the soft power. China is influencing the world, no doubt.
    As China keeps growing with high speed, you will see more of that influence.

    by: montegobay from: Sunnyvale, CA
    January 26, 2013 11:51 AM
    I hope Hollywood and US producers stop being condescending and racist showing white American heroes "rescuing" Chinese or Asian people from the villians in the TV or movies. Another aspect of that condescending attitude is it's very rare to see American women being the love interest of Asian men...but to see Asian women being the love interest is almost mandatory in any movie or TV show involving an Asian topic.

    by: Kitagawa Keikoh from: Daikanyama, JPN
    January 26, 2013 8:20 AM
    China has a big market. That's why they have a big influence on the market. But China is not a democratic country and that means only country's officials has big right. The country officials are thinking only how they can get country's money through holes of law.
    In Response

    by: skullandheart from: China
    January 27, 2013 11:08 AM
    But how much do you really know about China buddy?

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora