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China Threatens Hollywood
For Film Supremacy

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Hollywood sign image by raindog808 and used under a Creative Commons License.
With An Ever-Increasing Audience And Market Share, China Is Making Inroads In The Film Industry And Challenging Hollywood’s Movie Dominance

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By Mike Sallustio
Modern Times Magazine

Aug. 26, 2016 — You may not have noticed it, but some your favorite Hollywood blockbusters are hitting Chinese movie houses before they ever reach the Harkins Cine Capri.

Such was the case with Iron Man 3, a film that opened overseas two weeks before it ever made it’s way stateside. This is because the once supplementary global box office has overtaken the U.S. domestic box office for a while now. Big money overseas means other countries are getting dibs on first showings, especially China.

As China seeks to become the leading economy on the world stage, it is also becoming an epicenter of film entertainment, and the results are already showing. In February of 2016, the Chinese box office overtook North America for the first time taking in a little over $1 billion dollars, about $250 million more than North America’s that month, according to Reuters.

The “China Film Industry Report 2014-2015” by China’s EntGroup concluded that the country added over 16 new screens per day in 2014. And that number is only growing.

Not only has China made a big push to increase the number of theaters at home, but also to acquire theaters in North America as well. In 2012, Dalian Wanda Group, a Chinese conglomerate, purchased AMC Entertainment for $2.6 billion, according to a press release from the company. This deal currently makes Wanda group the largest cinema chain in the world with theaters all over the U.S. and Canada.

China’s personal tastes in film have also attracted the attention of Hollywood. Even when many films underperform in North America they are finding great success in China, which can lead to sequels and franchises that may otherwise not exist. Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation underperformed in North America, but made over 71.4% of its $682,330,139 total box office in foreign markets. Of that total, the film earned over $135 million in China, including over $86 million on its opening weekend.

The most recent success story has to be Warcraft, a film that bombed in the states but made a killing in China. Warcraft was produced by Legendary Pictures, a production company based in Burbank that was recently acquired by Dalian Wanda Group.

This February, the Hong Kong film The Mermaid became the highest grossing film in the Chinese box office, according to EntGroup. Although Iron Man 3 was produced by Disney’s Marvel Studios, they worked hand-in-hand with DMG Entertainment, a Chinese production company also is responsible for the sleeper, sci-fi hit Looper.

Before news got around that Matt Damon had been recently cast to save all of China with his white, Cambridge sensibilities, The Great Wall was a movie many U.S. audiences hadn’t even heard about. The film, slated to release in China three months before North America, is probably the biggest film news to come out of the country.

On paper, The Great Wall almost guarantees to be a hit with Chinese audiences. It’s directed by one of China’s biggest directors, Yimou Zhang, who was responsible for such visually stunning martial arts films as Hero and House of Flying Daggers. Also, The Great Wall stands to be the largest production ever shot completely on location in China with a price tag of $135 million, according to IMDb.

The film is being produced in part by Le Vision Entertainment, a subsidiary of LeEco, a Chinese tech company and phone manufacturer. The company also produces one of the biggest web series in China, Go Princess Go. Not to be content with phone, web and film alone, this year it entered the TV market by purchasing Vizio for $2 billion.

So, what does this hostile Hollywood takeover mean?

Hollywood’s dominance of the film industry has been unrivaled for almost a century, but China is swiftly looking to take that title. Not only does the drive to increase theaters and film production look to threaten Hollywood’s stranglehold on the movie industry, but large tech companies like LeEco also look to be a big part of the content you view on your phones and smart TVs. At this rate don’t be surprised if in the next decade Chinese imports become a big part of the entertainment you view daily.
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