Hollywood does China: varying degrees of success

Today’s RSS feeds bring in 2 interesting pieces about China:

A Variety Asia piece on how Hollywood studios are seriously reconsidering their plans in China.

A quick summary:

– co-productions not working as well as initially assumed
– import quotas for foreign movies
– unpredictable censorship & no standard classification system.
– “chronically weak filmgoing culture”.
– online, DVD piracy provide better alternatives

Still, China is an extremely lucrative market:
– Box office this year is expected to hit $590 million, up 21% from last year’s $489 million.
– Growing local film industry: 400 local film productions expected this year, a big jump from 350 last year.
– China Film Group now joined by state-backed companies such as Bona or private firms Huayi Bros.. Others like Chengtian have foreign capital and are pulling together production and distribution slates that make them credible partners.

But recently China authorities have become stricter on content regulation.

Market changes possible, but elements are beyond the control of Hollywood studios:
1. If more multiplexes increase demand for new, fresh content
2. If more private sector companies in production and distribution sectors emerge, which studios can partner with

While Hollywood studios are scratching their heads, other Hollywood players have made further inroads, like CAA. Variety Asia analyses the reasons for their (relative) success in this article. Even if you think CAA’s strategy is coherent in hindsight, the article’s still worth scanning for the differences between US and Chinese/Taiwan/HK styles of doing business in the media sector.


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