China’s hand in Hollywood

Updated: 2016-06-25 02:16

By ZHANG KUN in Shanghai(China Daily USA)

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China’s hand in Hollywood

Film director Xu Zheng (left) and Ang Lee talk about their filmmaking experiences. gao erqiang / china daily

The US film industry may be the world leader in producing silver screen blockbusters, but their success these days looks to be intrinsically tied to their Chinese counterparts

China could soon become the world leader in box office volume, thanks to the unique eco-system of its film industry and the preferences of domestic audiences, said industry experts.

According to statistics released during the 19th Shanghai International Film Festival (SIFF), China is currently the second-largest film market in the world after the United States and its box offices generated a total of 44 billion yuan ($6.68 billion) last year, an almost 50 percent increase from the previous year.

The latest Price Waterhouse Coopers report on the global film and entertainment industry also stated that China’s box office is expected to hit $10.3 billion next year, surpassing that of the US.

“China and the US will remain in the top two spots in the film market for quite a long time in the future,” said Zeng Maojun, vice president of Wanda Culture Industry Group, during a seminar at the film festival.

Wanda has in recent years been making waves in the global film industry, having acquired American cinema operator AMC Theatres in 2012 for $2.6 billion. In January this year, the group acquired California-based media company Legendary Entertainment for a reported $3.5 billion in cash.

The first movie that came from the US company following this acquisition is Warcraft, a fantasy film based on a series of video games and novels of same title. The film has been a massive success in China — box office takings on its opening day hit 300 million yuan and rose to a staggering 1 billion yuan within just five days. It is now the highest grossing foreign film in China’s box office history.

In stark contrast, the film earned $24 million during its opening weekend in the US, with the American box office accounting for just 10 percent of its global earnings.

This is not the first time that a Hollywood movie has been better received in China than the US. Other films that managed to wow the Chinese more than Americans include Fast and Furious 7 and Pacific Rim. On the other hand, blockbusters in the US, such as Star Wars: The Force Awakens, was met with lukewarm reception in China.

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