Ingenious Media Forms Co-Production Venture With China’s Hejing Culture in $200M Deal
June 19, 2016
- U.K. company Ingenious Media has reached a $200 million deal with Hejing Culture, a Chinese fund backed by private and government investment, to form a joint venture company to co-produce and co-finance a slate of independent films. Ingenious and Hejing said that they expect that a number of projects that result from the agreement will qualify as official Chinese co-productions, however this was not a requirement of the venture, leaving the door open to investments in purely Chinese or international films. The deal was announced Sunday at the Shanghai International Film Festival.
Orlando Bloom Partners With China’s Bliss Media on New Production Venture (Exclusive)
- The company will co-produce the Shanghai-set action-thriller ‘Smart Chase: Fire & Earth,’ in which Bloom is set to star. Orlando Bloom is partnering with China’s Bliss Media on a new production venture. The newly formed entity, called BlissBloom Productions, will be jointly run by the actor and Bliss Media CEO Wei Han. Their first project will be the $30 million Shanghai-set action thriller Smart Chase: Fire & Earth, starring Bloom and directed by French filmmaker Julien Seri (Night Fare).
Warcraft And The Movies That Were Saved By China
16 June 2016
- However, it’s a totally different story in China, where – likely thanks to the popularity of the PC game in Asia – it’s smashed all previous box office records. It’s made a staggering $156 million (£109 million) in just five days, almost its entire production budget, and sailing past previous box office champ, ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’. Legendary, the film’s producer, must be breathing a sigh of relief, though there’s a long way to go before it will see any profit. But it’s not the only studio to have been thrown a lifeline by what is now the world’s second largest movie market.
Jackie Chan: ‘Warcraft’ Success in China “Scares the Americans”
- “If we make a film that earns [$1.5 billion], then people from all over the world who study film will learn Chinese instead of us learning English,” the action star said during the Shanghai Film Festival. Hong Kong action star Jackie Chan on Sunday extolled the Chinese film industry’s emerging market prowess at the Shanghai International Film Festival. Saying that China was overlooked as a “nothing market” for decades, Chan suggested that the world has come to see the country’s entertainment sector in a very different light of late. He cited the phenomenal Chinese box-office performance of Legendary Entertainment’s Warcraft as evidence of the new order.
‘Angry Birds’ Tops China’s Weekend Box Office With $30 Million
May 22, 2016
- “The Angry Birds Movie” topped the box office in China, generating the biggest weekend sales for an animated film in the world’s second-largest movie market since January. The cartoon, an adaptation of the popular Rovio Entertainment Oy game, brought in 195.3 million yuan ($30 million) in ticket sales through Sunday since its debut on Friday in China, according to data compiled by Entgroup Inc. That surpassed the previous weekend’s highest earner, “Captain America: Civil War,” which slipped to No. 2.
China’s Bliss Media Launches $150 Million Film and TV Fund
- The company financed and executive produced Pablo Larraín’s ‘Jackie’ starring Natalie Portman and acquired the Chinese distribution rights to Mel Gibson’s ‘Hacksaw Ridge’ starring Andrew Garfield. Bliss Media on Monday announced that it has partnered with CODI Capital Group to launch the Bliss-CODI Film & TV Investment Fund, backed by $150 million. Bliss Media’s founder and CEO Wei Han and CODI Capital Group’s Xiaodi Li will co-manage the fund, which will concentrate on international film and television equity investment. The first round of funding will invest in several projects with international distribution. Investment targets of the fund will be provided exclusively by Bliss Media and jointly evaluated and greenlighted by the fund’s management. Bliss Media also will handle the distribution of all the projects in China.
HBO Signs Development Deal With China Movie Channel (Exclusive)
- The partners will co-develop TV movies for the massive Chinese television audience, which counts an estimated 1.2 billion viewers. HBO Asia is partnering with China Movie Channel to co-develop a slate of Chinese-language TV movies designed to air in China and overseas. The deal marks HBO’s first major development or production collaboration in the massive Chinese television sector, which counts an estimated 1.2 billion viewers.
Chariots of Fire sequel being made by Chinese film company as it failed to win British funding
15 May 2016
- When Chariots of Fire won an Oscar in 1981, its writer famously told Hollywood “The British are coming”. Not when it comes to its sequel, it appears. Joseph Fiennes, who will star as Eric Liddell in a new continuation film, has revealed it must be made by a Chinese film company, after no UK filmmaker would fund it. Fiennes, who is attending Cannes to publicise the film, said The Last Race would tell the true story of how Liddell moved to China as a missionary after the Olympics, before being made prisoner during the Second World War.
DC Will have Chinese Superman, Batman & Wonder Woman
May 14, 2016
- Chinese moviegoers have become so enamored with Hollywood made movies that “Captain America: Civil War” beat handily in the box office the last film by acclaimed Chinese director Wu Tianming, “Song of the Phoenix.” In the light of Captain America’s fame, Fanjin Media entered into an agreement with Marvel directors to co-produce a Chinese superhero. However, a new report by Gizmodo said that it is not just Marvel which has Chinese superheroes on the horizon. Even DC Comics is coming up with a Chinese Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. It is the result of the current Man of Steel dying whose powers would be diffused into many other people.
Cannes: Kevin Munroe to Direct Chinese Animated Trolls Feature (Exclusive)
- Co-produced by China’s Spring Era Period Films, ‘Troll: The Tale of a Tail’ is being animated in both English and Chinese versions. Filmmaker Kevin Munroe, best known for writing and directing Ratchet & Clank (2015) and TMNT (2007), has signed on to co-direct Troll: The Tale of a Tail (also known as The Zhou Rao Kingdom for the Chinese market), a big-budget animated feature based on a classic work of Chinese literature. The film will be animated in both English and Chinese versions to appeal to both international and Chinese audiences — a strategy pursued most recently by DreamWorks Animation for Kung Fu Panda 3.
China’s Wanda to Co-Finance Paramount’s ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2’
- China’s Wanda Cinema Line and its subsidiary Movie Media have boarded Paramount’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows as co-financiers. The investment represents the first time that Wanda Cinema Line has invested in a Hollywood film as a worldwide investor. Wanda Cinema Line is the movie theater subsidiary of Chinese real estate and investment conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group, which is controlled by Wang Jialin, China’s richest man.
‘Captain America’ Filmmakers to Produce Chinese Superhero Franchise
- Following the massive debut of ‘Captain America: Civil War,’ which opened to $95.8 million in China, Joe and Anthony Russo will produce a local-language franchise targeting the Chinese audience. Joe and Anthony Russo, the sibling director duo behind Marvel’s hugely successful Captain America franchise, have partnered with a Beijing-based production company to develop and produce a new Chinese superhero franchise. Excited Chinese movie buffs have already nicknamed the project “Captain China.”
‘Warcraft’ Sets China Release Two Days Ahead Of U.S.: A Burgeoning Trend?
May 5, 2016
- Even before Legendary was acquired by China’s Dalian Wanda Group, it had Middle Kingdom involvement in Warcraft. The ambitious adaptation of Blizzard Entertainment’s video game juggernaut has Chinese money in it via Tencent Pictures which said it had made an equity investment back in September. At the same time, Wanda said it would work with the two companies and use its network to promote and market the film. Now, Legendary has smartly positioned Warcraft for a rare early Middle Kingdom release — two days ahead of the U.S. Universal, which is releasing in most of the world outside China and Japan, will boot it up on June 10 domestically while it will go out on June 8 in the PROC. Several key European territories go in late May.
China’s Domestic Animated Films See 78.6 Pct Box-office Surge
- A new report shows that domestic animated films screened in China have generated more than 2 billion yuan, around 300 million U.S. dollars in 2015. That’s a growth rate of 78.6 percent, year on year. “Monkey King: Hero is Back,” topped China’s domestic film box office chart. Fourteen foreign animations were screened in China last year, a quarter of the total number. However, they took more than half of box office revenue for animated movies. Box office revenue is expected to surpass 6 billion yuan this year.
China’s Wanda Pictures Gets Investment From Financial Companies Puji, Jupai
- The companies are looking to “capitalize on the burgeoning global media and entertainment industry as well as other high-growth sector companies that have cross-border attraction in China and [the] United States.” Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group’s Wanda Pictures business has received an investment from financial firms Puji Capital and Jupai Holdings, the companies said Monday. Details of the size of the investment and other terms weren’t disclosed.
Chinese Movie Stars Are Seeing Salaries Triple Thanks To China’s Hollywood Ambitions
- LOS ANGELES — Many Americans haven’t got a raise in years, but that’s not a problem for some of the biggest actors in China. The domestic box office is not only surging there, promising to become the world’s biggest as soon as next year, but Chinese studios are also aggressively looking to prepare films for export. That’s made China’s brightest stars — especially those with English skills — hot commodities. “Chinese stars’ rates have gone up three times in the last year, for the big mainstream actors,” Sky Moore, a partner at the law firm Stroock & Stroock & Lavan in Los Angeles who works closely with Chinese studios, told International Business Times.
Industry Leaders Discuss China’s Effects in Hollywood Culture
Apr 20, 2016
- Partnerships between China and Hollywood are continually making waves in the entertainment business. Experts ask, however, if this love affair between the East and West will last, The Los Angeles Times reported. One thing remains clear: This relationship has paved the way for many projects than any other foreign involvement in the industry, as most U.S. and Chinese industry leaders agreed in a panel discussion during the Committee of 100 conference in Beverly Hills.
China Film to Deepen Cooperation with Paramount Pictures
- China Film Company has announced cooperation with Paramount Pictures in the US. The production and distribution deal was announced during the ongoing Beijing International Film Festival. CFC’s Chairman says his side hopes to learn from Paramount, and combine Hollywood’s mature business model and technology with Chinese culture, talent and market.
‘Riddick’ director to blast off with ‘Ice Moon Rising,’ a space film with a China element
April 18 2016
- Space-rescue films with Chinese elements are becoming a thing — think “Gravity” and “The Martian.” Another such project, “Ice Moon Rising,” surfaced Monday at the Beijing International Film Festival. Directed by “Riddick” helmer David Twohy (who penned “The Fugitive” and “G.I. Jane” among other films), the sci-fi movie has been set up as an official U.S.-China co-production between China Film Group and Orb Media, along with Das Films.
China is the New Hollywood, Says James Schamus
April 17, 2016
- Leading U.S. independent producer James Schamus proclaimed Sunday that “China is becoming the new Hollywood.” The former head of Focus Features and producer of “Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon” was speaking in Beijing at a set-piece seminar on Chinese co-production at the first full day of the Beijing International Film Festival. He and other speakers who included Chinese producers Yu Dong and Huang Jianxin, and British producer Iain Smith, argued that co-productions have qualitatively changed as the Chinese film industry has hurtled through multiple stages of development in just a few years.
20 Chinese Movies Premiere at Houston International Film Festival
Apr 11, 2016
- The number of Chinese films that participated in the 49th WorldFest Houston International Festival quadrupled for 2016 to 20 from only five in 2015. The premiere of the 20 movies was the highlight of the opening on Friday of the world’s oldest independent film festival. “Compact Density of Stone,” a movie about the former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping, was the opening movie for Panorama China which was introduced last year, reported Xinhua News Agency.
China animation makers catching up with Hollywood fast
Apr 11, 2016
- Released in January, Little Door Gods pulled in nearly 28 million yuan (US$4.33 million) on its opening day and set a new record for a Chinese-produced animation movie. If the looks of its characters remind you of some blockbuster movies by animation giants such as Pixar and DreamWorks, don’t be surprised because some members of its production crew had actually worked for those Californian companies. The Chinese producers’ willingness to invest in top talent reflects their growing confidence in the potential of such films.
Chinese film industry takes lessons from Hollywood
- BEIJING – Film industry watchers have speculated that China’s annual box office sales could surpass North America’s as soon as 2017. In February, Chinese cinemas pulled in a record 6.87 billion yuan ($1.06 billion) in ticket sales, with monthly box office sales overtaking North America’s for the first time, according to statistics from the film bureau of the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT). China has become the second largest film market with its box office sales reaching 44 billion yuan ($6.8 billion) in 2015, up 48.7 percent from 2014.
China box office revenue up 51% in 1st quarter
April 3, 2016
- China’s box office revenues grew 51 per cent in the first quarter of this year, China National radio said on Sunday. The state-run CNR data said ticket sales in the first three months of 2016 amounted to 14.5 billion yuan (1.57 billion pounds). China boasts of about 31630 movie screens. The country added 8035 new screens in 2015. Chinese films accounted for almost three-quarters of the country’s box office in the first quarter.
China’s Alibaba Pictures Swings to 2015 Profit
- An investment in Paramount’s ‘Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation’ contributed $10.6 million in revenue and boosted the company’s profit by $1.1 million. Boosted by the financial gains from a stock offering, Alibaba Pictures Group bounced back and ended up in the black in 2015. On Tuesday, the Beijing-based studio, which is the film subsidiary of Jack’s Ma’s e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, reported a full-year profit of $71.7 million (RMB466 million), compared with a $64.1 million loss in 2014. APG’s operating loss actually widened slightly in 2015, but one-time gains, including from the share issuance with net proceeds of $1.5 billion (HK$12.1 billion), led it to a net profit.
Chinese film company to partner former Walt Disney boss’ studio, investing US$500 million
31 March, 2016
- A private film company in eastern China has agreed to invest at least US$500 million in the studio of former Walt Disney boss Dick Cook to make films for worldwide distribution. It is the latest deal between the world’s top two markets as China’s film industry booms and producers in both countries look to increase their presence at the other’s box office. Box office revenues in China in 2015 rose about 50 per cent from 2014 to 44 billion yuan (HK$53 billion) – more than double that of 2013. It is widely believed China will overtake the US as the top box office by 2020.
China’s iQiyi, British Film Institute Strike Content Deal
- The BFI has handpicked a selection of British independent and world cinema titles, including ’12 Years a Slave’ and ‘Amour,’ to be made available by the online video company. Chinese audiences will soon get to stream such Oscar winners as 12 Years a Slave and Amour. Following a deal between the British Film Institute and Chinese Internet giant Baidu’s iQiyi online video service, a selection of “handpicked” titles from world cinema and the U.K.’s indie film scene will be available via the platform, which has more than 10 million paid subscribers across China.
Warner Bros.’ Flagship Entertainment Unveils 12-Movie Slate for China
- The slate features Chinese-language films from every genre, with a wide range of budgets, including a remake of ‘Miss Congeniality’ and Adam Sandler’s ‘Blended.’ Flagship Entertainment, Warner Bros.’ joint venture with China Media Capital and broadcaster TVB, unveiled its first 12 movie projects to be made in China. The slate features Chinese-language films from every genre, with a wide range of budgets, including a remake of Miss Congeniality, Adam Sandler’s Blended and disaster picture Crater. A few of the projects have Chinese lead actors and directors attached. The first of the films will be released later this year.
China Film Studio Huayi Signs Up Hollywood Execs For International Push
Mar 14, 2016
- Huayi Brothers, one of China’s largest locally owned film studios, said yesterday it would tap Hollywood executives to lead a push into the international market. Huayi’s move follows by two months an agreement to purchase a majority stake in Hollywood’s Legendary Entertainment by Wanda Group for $3.5 billion. Wanda is led by Asia’s richest man, Chinese billionaire Wang Jianlin. Wang also controls U.S.listed AMC, one of the world’s largest movie theatre chains, among other entertainment industry businesses.
Why ‘Zootopia’ Means Hollywood Animators Might Want To Start Learning Chinese
- LOS ANGELES — China’s box office may be growing at a rate that would make mobile delivery startups jealous, but plenty of studios and production companies making movies for that market still want to go back the drawing board. The animated one. As China prepares to become the world’s biggest box office as soon as 2017 — jumping nearly 50 percent just last year — Hollywood studios are eager to find films that play well in the Middle Kingdom. That’s particularly important given the fact that only 34 foreign films are cleared by the country’s censors each year, so each import has to count. And lately, Hollywood has underperformed.
Russo Brothers Launch Studio to Produce Chinese-Language Films (Exclusive)
- The directing team behind Marvel’s ‘Captain America’ franchise and the upcoming ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ films are planting their flag in the booming Chinese market. Anthony and Joe Russo, the sibling director duo behind Marvel’s Captain America franchise, are setting up shop in China. In a hush-hush deal last week, the brothers secured financing for Anthem & Song, a startup studio to be based in Los Angeles and Beijing, which will develop and produce Chinese-language films for the country’s booming theatrical market. In 2015, China’s box office grew an astounding 49 percent. It is expected to surpass North America next year as the largest theatrical market in the world.
China’s Huayi and Tencent Prepare Vehicle for Deals in Hollywood, Korea
March 11, 2016
- Annual results for China Jiuhao Health, being taken over by entertainment giants Huayi Brothers and Tencent as a vehicle for foreign acquisitions, reveal it to be an almost perfectly clean shell company. The only flaw revealed by Jiuhao’s 2015 annual results announcement, is that one of its non-executive directors is shown to have been detained by Chinese police for more than a year. “For the reason of assisting relevant Mainland authorities in their investigation since January 2015, Mr. Wei Xin did not attend any general meetings of the company held in 2015,” Jiuhao said on page 44 of a regulatory filing on Friday.
Chinese media mogul Li Ruigang buys undisclosed stake in Hollywood production company Imagine Entertainment
07 March, 2016
- China’s media mogul Li Ruigang continues to extend his influence in Hollywood with the acquisition of an equity stake in the production company behind “Apollo 13”, “A Beautiful Mind,” and “The Da Vinci Code”. Shanghai-based China Media Capital (CMC), which Li founded in 2009, said it has taken a stake in Imagine Entertainment, an American production firm led by director Ron Howard and producer Brian Grazer. CMC did not unveil the acquisition price, nor the size of its equity stake.
How Matt Damon may kickstart China’s global movie ambitions
Mar. 7, 2016
- China has a new ally in its campaign to turn itself into a global cultural superpower: Matt Damon. And, behind him, a good chunk of Hollywood as well. Chinese leaders have long sought international cultural influence, aka “soft power,” commensurate with the nation’s economic might. That’s brought us official Confucian institutes scattered across the world, billions of dollars in development aid and awe-inspiring Olympic ceremonies. But China’s own film industry remains a mere flicker on the global screen.
AMC’s $1.1 Billion Carmike Deal Makes China Movie Powerhouse
March 3, 2016
- AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc., controlled by China’s richest man, agreed to buy Carmike Cinemas Inc. in a $1.1 billion all-cash deal that would create the world’s largest cinema chain and extend Chinese influence in the movie industry. AMC, majority owned by billionaire Wang Jianlin’s Dalian Wanda Group Co., will pay $30 a share for Carmike, a 19 percent premium over its closing stock price Thursday, according to a statement from the companies. The agreement combines the second- and fourth-biggest U.S. movie theater chains and vaults the resulting entity past Regal Entertainment Group.
The Revenant: A Triumph for a Chinese Company
Feb 29, 2016
- The Oscar winners for The Revenant share the extraordinary film’s extraordinary success with a mainland Chinese company on its first very foray into financing international movies. And the award goes to: Guangdong Alpha Animation and Culture Company. The company from Southern China (listed on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange — code: 002292) injected an undisclosed but “substantial amount” into the Leonardo Di Caprio film as an equity investor. Executive producers Philip Lee and Markus Barmettler arranged for Guangdong Alpha to participate commercially in the film after reviewing several potential investors from the mainland. “We felt they shared our vision for this film. They believe in a worldwide market,” says Barmettler, a Swiss entertainment lawyer specializing in movie financing and a longtime business associate of Arnon Milchan, the founder of New Regency Films, which provided the principal backing for The Revenant.
‘Kung Fu Panda 3’ Becomes China’s Biggest Animated Film Ever
- The record is an important milestone for Jeffrey Katzenberg’s Shanghai-based Oriental DreamWorks venture, which spared no expense in animating the film in both English and Chinese. DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg’s recent prediction that Kung Fu Panda 3 would become the biggest animated film ever at the Chinese box office rang true over the weekend. As of Sunday morning, the pic had earned $144.2 million, sweeping past previous record-holder Monkey King: Hero is Back to claim China’s all-time animation crown, according to data from 20th Century Fox, which is distributing the film stateside.
China Could Beat Hollywood by 2017
February 24, 2016
- To celebrate the Lunar New Year, Fei Li did what tens of millions of other Chinese did: She went to the movies. The 29-year-old finance professional and six family members, from her 91-year-old grandmother to her 6-year-old niece, went to see The Mermaid at the Capital Cinema in Beijing’s Xicheng district. “We all love it,” says Li, who paid about 35 yuan ($5) to see the movie a second time. Buoyed by holiday audiences, The Mermaid, a quirky comedy from director Stephen Chow about a mermaid who falls in love with a real estate tycoon she’s sent to assassinate, is the highest-grossing film of all time in China. It’s rung up more than $440 million in ticket sales since opening on Feb. 8, according to box-office researcher EntGroup, overtaking local hit Monster Hunt and Hollywood’s Furious 7.
Male Asian actors gaining a following abroad
- It was a chilly day in Milan, Italy, on January 17 and Eleanor Clark was already waiting for hours outside one of the shows at Milan Fashion Week when some Italian girls sidled over to her. “Are you waiting for Giacomo Gianniotti (a famous Italian actor),” they asked. “No, we are here for Wang Kai (a popular Chinese actor),” Clark responded with pride. Some of the Chinese fans at the scene overheard and, having found a kindred spirit, excitedly started sharing their love for Wang Kai with Clark and her four foreign companions.
Universal Pictures, Lionsgate, MGM Acquire Stakes in Hong Kong Gaming Company Fifth Journey
- Hong Kong-based mobile entertainment company Fifth Journey said Tuesday that it has signed strategic partnership deals with Universal Pictures, Lionsgate and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios to develop mobile games, interactive entertainment and virtual reality experiences based on the three studios’ film properties. As part of the deal, each studio also is taking a strategic minority stake in the startup game developer. Financial terms were not disclosed, but Fifth Journey says the studios will be its largest outside investors to date.
China’s Would-be Movie Stars Face English Exam Hurdle
- Would-be actors applying to the prestigious Beijing Film Academy are being warned – best bone-up on your English skills. More than 7,600 applicants have competed for 45 spots for the coveted acting classes as part of a three-day examination that ended on Wednesday. One of the things the application screeners were said to be looking for this year was a command of the English language.
The changing image of Chinese in Hollywood films
February 17, 2016
- A recent flood of post-election comments by mainland Chinese netizens on Taiwan media Facebook pages is drawing lots of attention. The global publicity and characterizations of China stoked by the incident reminds me of another hot topic in film studies – How did the image of Chinese evolve in Hollywood films in the past century? It goes without saying that the image of Chinese conveyed by US film makers for most of the 20th century was quite negative. But with China’s rise, has the image turned positive? To answer that question, it’s necessary to look at Hollywood’s past depictions of the Chinese people.
Universal Finalizes $250M Slate Deal With China’s Perfect World, Plans To Raise Debt
- The partnership will last five years or cover the co-financing of 50 films, making the Chinese video game and TV production company a major player in global entertainment. Universal Pictures and Chinese multimedia company Perfect World Pictures have entered into a multiyear agreement that would raise some $500 million in equity and debt to finance films across the entire Universal slate.
Chinese Superstar Kris Wu Joins Vin Diesel in ‘xXx: The Return of Xander Cage’
February 16, 2016
- Chinese superstar Kris Wu has joined the cast of Vin Diesel‘s action movie “xXx: The Return of Xander Cage,” which will serve as his first U.S. project, it was announced Tuesday by Paramount. Paramount is teaming on the high-octane sequel with Revolution Studios, Roth Kirschenbaum Films and Diesel’s One Race Films.
It’s Time for an American Film Depicting the Chinese Theater of World War II
February 15, 2016
- Several scholars have recently begun a conversation about why the history of China’s contribution to World War II has fallen out of the mainstream American historical conversation. The Second Sino-Japanese War was immensely destructive, served to set the stage for the Pacific War, but has received comparatively little attention relative to the other main theaters of conflict in World War II. Deflecting the historiographical question for a moment, why have so few American filmmakers tackled such a potentially rich topic? The simple, straightforward answer is this: Americans do not make many movies about World War II that do not prominently feature Americans. World War II’s Eastern Front has a few entries: Enemy at the Gates, a 2001 film about the Battle of Stalingrad, took advantage of the wake of Saving Private Ryan to earn back its budget and a bit more. 1977’s Cross of Iron (a British-German production directed by American Sam Peckinpah) depicted the German side of the conflict. Defiance, a 2008 film about Jewish partisan activity in Belarus, straddled the border between war movie and Holocaust film.
Hollywood Studios Chase Chinese Audiences
February 12, 2016
- HONG KONG—The success of Kung Fu Panda 3 is reaffirming the value of Hollywood’s pursuit of ticket sales in China, where Hollywood films are increasingly using Chinese plot lines and characters to appeal to the Chinese market. On its opening day, the film brought in more than $16 million, and by the end of its second week, box office sales had climbed to more than $101 million. Chinese audiences flocked to the cinema on New Year’s day, when more than $100 million worth of tickets were sold.
China’s Bliss Media Takes Stake in Wild Bunch’s Insiders
- The Shanghai-based film company is co-financing Pablo Larrain’s ‘Jackie’ and will distribute Mel Gibson’s ‘Hacksaw Ridge’ in China. China’s Bliss Media has acquired a stake in Insiders, the international sales outfit launched at the Cannes film festival last year by Wild Bunch and Cine France. Based in Shanghai and Los Angeles, Bliss Media is a finance, production and distribution company. It is co-financing Pablo Larrain’s Jackie starring Natalie Portman and Michael Mann’s Enzo Ferrari, which Paramount Pictures acquired for U.S. distribution. Insiders, headed by Wild Bunch CEO Vincent Maraval, is selling the international rights to the two projects.
Chinese Movie Studios Are Hiring Hollywood Talent In Hopes Of Creating Crossover Blockbusters
- LOS ANGELES — Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump is only the most recent politician to blame the Chinese for taking American jobs, but in Southern California, the opposite could be coming true: Hollywood insiders expect to see China’s film industry making more attempts to lure American writers and directors in the coming years. “The holy grail is going to be large-budget, English-language co-productions that play and expound Chinese culture worldwide,” said Sky Moore, a partner at the law firm Stroock & Stroock & Lavan and the lead attorney on a co-production deal between Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. and China’s Hunan TV. “You’re going to see endless attempts at doing that.”
China’s Lang Lang and Germany’s Hans Zimmer come together in America to score ‘Ku Fu Panda 3’
February 4 2016
- When Chinese concert pianist Lang Lang was planning to visit L.A. about 12 years ago, he asked his label to arrange a meeting with composer Hans Zimmer, who at the time was scoring “The Last Samurai.” Zimmer asked Lang whether the score sounded “Asian enough.” “I’m like, ‘I don’t know where you got it, but you have an Asian heart,’ ” Lang recalled, laughing. Lang had been a “superfan” of Zimmer’s from the moment he saw “Gladiator.” The pianist was 18 when Ridley Scott’s epic came out featuring Zimmer’s popular, Oscar-nominated score. They’ve remained friends since that first meeting.
China Box Office: Revenue Soars 47 Percent in Normally Quiet January
- The market share for Hollywood movies, however, slipped to 29 percent for the first month of 2016. While China’s stock markets recently gave economists plenty of cause for concern, the country’s movie box office showed no signs of slowing its historic expansion in the first month of 2016.
‘Kung Fu Panda 3’ First Hollywood Movie to Be Shown in Mandarin in U.S.
- In a first for a studio Hollywood release, moviegoers in the U.S. will be able to see a Mandarin-language version of Kung Fu Panda 3 in select U.S. theaters. AMC Entertainment — owned by China’s Dalian Wanda Group — is partnering with DreamWorks Animation and Fox to show a dubbed or subtitled version of the movie in markets where there is a significant Chinese population. The seven theaters are in Los Angeles (with three); Boston; Chicago; Columbus, Ohio; and the Bay Area in Northern California. Also, Regal Entertainment will play the Mandarin version in one location in Canada, and Cineplex will carry it in two theaters in Vancouver.
20th Century Fox Signs Exclusive Output Deal With China’s iQIYI
- The online video company, owned by search giant Baidu, will be the first in China to stream ‘The Martian,’ ‘The Revenant’ and more. 20th Century Fox has signed an exclusive output agreement with Chinese online video company iQIYI, granting the service first-run subscription-streaming and transactional VOD rights to the studio’s recent, major theatrical releases. Titles included under the deal include The Martian, The Revenant, Snoopy and Charlie Brown: A Peanuts Movie and Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials. Under the terms of the deal, iQIYI, which is an independent subsidiary of search giant Baidu, will be the first online platform in China to stream the Fox films.
Hasbro, DMG Sign Deal to Create Huge ‘Transformers’ Attraction in China
- The world’s first live ‘Transformers’ experience, described as a “cross between an action-adventure spectacle, a theme park attraction and a theatrical show,” will debut in China in 2017. Optimus Prime and his band of Autobots are set to assemble in the real world — in China. DMG Entertainment, the China-U.S.-based movie studio and co-producer of Point Break and Iron Man 3, has reached a deal with Hasbro to create Transformers Live. The robotics spectacle, expected to debut in an undisclosed Chinese city in 2017, will be the world’s first live-action attraction featuring the toy brand’s iconic characters.
Universal Pictures to Strike $500M Slate Deal With China’s Perfect World
- Universal Pictures and China’s Perfect World Pictures are closing a $500 million movie slate funding deal, sources confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter. The five-year pact makes the Chinese TV production and video games company a co-financier, giving Universal a new source of funds. It also makes Perfect World the latest Chinese player to align with a big-name Hollywood company. Conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group recently sealed a $3.5 billion deal to acquire Legendary Entertainment.
Why Kung Fu Panda 3 Wants Chinese Audiences To Pay To See It Twice
Jan 22 2016
- Kung Fu Panda 3 is a pretty big film for Dreamworks Animation. The studio has released a number of flops over the last few years, and because of this they’re relying on the third instalment of the hugely popular franchise to thrive to keep them afloat. In order to get as much money as possible from Chinese audiences, Dreamworks came up with a nifty ploy. They decided to release two different versions of the film, which they believe will entice viewers back to cinemas not just twice, but three times, maybe more. Dreamworks Animation’s master plan is to release one version of Kung Fu Panda 3 where the animation matches the English language, and a Chinese version where the characters’ mouths and body match the nuances of that language. Jeffrey Katzenburg, the CEO of Dreamworks Animation, made this revelation ahead of Kung Fu Panda 3’s impending release. But he doesn’t just expect people to go and see the film once or twice, he believes that they’ll flock to see it on numerous occasions so that they can really find out which version they prefer.
Chinese Billionaire Gary Wang on Building “The Pixar of China”
- The Light Chaser Animation founder talks about launching a studio without any background in film, why local movies are beating Hollywood in China and the tip he got from Illumination Animation CEO Chris Meledandri.
Disney’s $5 billion Chinese theme park set to open
January 13, 2016
- The countdown has begun. Disney fans in China have only five months to wait before the company’s mega theme park opens in Shanghai. After a decade of planning and investment of $5.5 billion, the entertainment giant’s first park in mainland China will open on June 16. The Shanghai Disney Resort represents a major bet that China’s growing middle class will spend more and more of their money on travel, tourism and leisure.
‘Star Wars’ Opens at Record Pace in China, Disney Says
Jan 9 2016
- Global blockbuster movie “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” broke records in China with an estimated $33 million in ticket sales on its first day in the world’s second-largest film market, the Walt Disney Co. said Saturday. The figure represents the Disney film studio’s biggest opening day ever in China and the highest Saturday opening day in the country in industry history, the company said.
China’s Wanda Acquiring Controlling Stake in Legendary Entertainment
- Chinese real estate and investment conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group has reached a deal to acquire a majority stake in Legendary Entertainment, sources tell The Hollywood Reporter. The agreement puts the value of the U.S. movie studio at between $3 billion and $4 billion, and could be announced as early as next week, said a person familiar with the deal who was not authorized to speak publicly. Wanda will own just over half of Legendary, with studio founder and CEO Thomas Tull and key management owning smaller stakes. Tull and his team are expected to remain in charge of the company’s operations, however.
Movie ticket sales jump 48% in China, but Hollywood has reason to worry
December 29 2015
- Despite a slowing economy, China’s box-office receipts jumped nearly 50% between 2014 and 2015 — the most sizzling pace of growth in the last five years. But Hollywood isn’t sharing equally in the bonanza: Revenue for imported films rose less than 24% this year, while homegrown Chinese movies saw almost a 69% surge. China’s box office should close out the year with total sales of about 43.9 billion renminbi, or $6.8 billion, up 48.3% over 2014, data from film industry consulting firm Artisan Gateway showed Tuesday.
Is American film industry pandering to Chinese censors?
Dec. 26, 2015
- A year from now one of China’s greatest directors, Zhang Yimou, who captivated the world with his opening and closing ceremonies for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, will see his latest project open in North American theatres. Starring Matt Damon, Andy Lau and Willem Dafoe, The Great Wall will be Zhang’s first English-language film and, with a budget of $150 million (U.S.), the largest Hollywood-China collaboration in history. It’s the most expensive Chinese movie ever made for an international audience. But Hollywood’s recent collaborations with China have raised concerns that the American film industry is pandering to Chinese audiences — or more disturbingly, Chinese censors.
Daisy Ridley, John Boyega and J.J. Abrams to Attend ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ China Premiere
- The film will be unveiled in the booming China market on Dec. 27 at the Shanghai Grand Theatre. Now that Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a smash hit around the world, one final PR and marketing push remains for Disney — China, the world’s second-largest movie market. The film will be given its China premiere at the Shanghai Grand Theatre on the evening of Dec. 27. Newly minted franchise stars Daisy Ridley and John Boyega, along with director J.J. Abrams and Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, are all confirmed to attend. Force Awakens will be shown on an IMAX screen specially built for the event. Disney says other surprise elements will be unveiled on the night.
Actress Fan Bingbing on becoming the new ’empress of China’
20 Dec 2015
- From billboards to screens big and small, Fan Bingbing is ubiquitous in China. In a free-wheeling chat with Zigor Aldama, the only non-American on Forbes’ 10 highest paid actresses list talks about becoming the ’empress of China’.
China’s Alibaba Pictures, Tencent Join Buyout of Bona Film Group
- The deal values Bona, one of China’s top-tier studios, at $1 billion. Alibaba Pictures and Tencent have joined the group bidding to pull leading Chinese film studio and distributor Bona Film Group off the NASDAQ stock exchange. The proposed deal’s current terms value Bona at $1 billion. In June, a group including a vehicle named Uranus Connection and Chinese investor Xie Zhanshan offered to buy Bona’s American depositary receipts at $13.70 each. Alibaba said it would spend $86 million to join the deal, while Tencent has declined requests to share terms.
Disney partners with Alibaba to launch DisneyLife streaming box in China
December 15, 2015
- Disney is teaming up with Alibaba to launch its on-demand streaming service, DisneyLife, in China. All content will be served up by Wasu Media Network, in which Alibaba owns shares. This represents only the second market for DisneyLife, which had launched exclusively in the U.K. in late November. The partnership with Alibaba, one of China’s biggest ecommerce companies, is key to the launch, given the inherent barriers that hinder foreign T.V. networks from entering the market. It’s the same reason on-demand services such as Netflix have yet to arrive on the scene, though Netflix was recently rumored to be partnering with Wanda to prepare for entry.
Jack Ma Teams With Arch-Foe Tencent on China, Hollywood Films
December 11, 2015
- Tencent Holdings Ltd., e-commerce billionaire Jack Ma and movie studio Huayi Brothers Media Corp. will pool their assets and create a Hong Kong-listed company to develop films and entertainment for China and abroad. Tencent, Huayi and Ma’s Yunfeng Capital have made a HK$547 million ($70.6 million) offer to buy a controlling stake in a shell company called China Jiuhao Health Industry Corp., the companies announced Thursday. If successful, they intend to use the shares of what has been a retirement-home developer to create a media and “cultural” business and produce original content. First up is a slate of 10 live-action films and three animated features to be created in conjunction with unidentified U.S. production houses, they said.
Wanda Group chases Hollywood prize
Dec 10, 2015
- A bigger Hollywood target in the sights of Chinese entertainment giant Dalian Wanda Group Co. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Wanda, which owns US cinema chain AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc., is in talks to buy a minority stake in American film and television company Legendary Entertainment.
Meet Lu Han, Official “Ambassador” for ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ in China
- Often described as China’s answer to Justin Bieber, the 25-year-old pop star is suddenly everywhere, promoting ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Kung Fu Panda 3,’ and next appearing opposite Matt Damon in Zhang Yimou’s ‘The Great Wall.’ Although he’s virtually unknown in the West, 25-year-old Chinese pop star-turned-screen neophyte Lu Han has emerged as the de facto face of Hollywood in China. Last Tuesday, Disney revealed that Han had been named the “official ambassador” for Star Wars: The Force Awakens in China. This uncommon title comes with obvious weight: The pic is all but certain to be the biggest international movie of 2016, and China is now the world’s second-largest movie market.
AMC’s ‘Into the Badlands’ Sells to Chinese Streamer LeTV
- Entertainment One (eOne) has licensed AMC’s Into the Badlands to LeTV in China. The postapocalyptic martial arts drama, loosely based on the beloved and oft-adapted Chinese classic novel Journey to the West, will launch on LeTV’s streaming video services in early 2016. “We’re delighted to partner with LeTV, one of the largest online platforms in China, to bring this blockbuster series to the Chinese audience,” said eOne regional sales director Ben Bishop. In addition to Mainland China, eOne has licensed Into the Badlands to AMC Global in over 125 countries, including regions throughout Asia, Benelux, Latin America, Central Europe and Spain, as well as to Foxtel in Australia, SoHo in New Zealand and CMore in Scandinavia.
The Martian shows Hollywood’s Chinese connection has lift-off
30 November 2015
- US talkshow host Stephen Colbert recently lampooned the phenomenon, but evidence is stacking up that shoehorning in a China-set scene actually works for Hollywood blockbusters. The Martian, in which the China National Space Administration saves both Nasa’s and Matt Damon’s asses, has just opened strongly over there with $50.1m (£33.3m). You can’t discount the importance of being the autumn’s breakout blockbuster elsewhere – but nor can Ridley Scott’s plot choices be dismissed, especially in the light of other films that have climbed on board what Colbert has dubbed the “Pander Express”. Roland Emmerich’s 2012 wasn’t the first tentpole release to do it (that was probably Mission: Impossible 3, a little too early in 2006). But having the Chinese army save the day saw an unmistakeable bounce ($68.7m) in that country for a relatively star-light film in 2009. Skyfall’s Shanghai and Macau-set scenes were partly censored, but the Bond franchise still more than doubled its take there (Skyfall: $59.2m; Quantum of Solace: $21m). Transformers: Age of Extinction trashed Hong Kong on its way to a Hollywood record in China ($320m) that stood until Furious 7 this year. Some of these leaps are admittedly difficult to untangle from Chinese box-office growth overall. The one that undeniably outperforms even that is Iron Man 3, which came in a separate, tailored version (ie with a couple of extra scenes) and whose marketing was carefully honed by local powerhouse DMG. The result: a stupendous hike from previous Iron Mans (1: $15.2m; 2: $7.9m; 3: $121.2m). Now imagine what Hollywood could achieve with an actual Chinese protagonist.
Daniel Wu talks about filming ‘Into the Badlands’
Nov 21, 2015
- “Into the Badlands” is a new American television series that premiered on AMC this month. One of the leading characters, the warrior, is played by Daniel Wu, a Hong Kong-based Chinese-American actor, director and producer. Our correspondent Zhu Dan spoke to Wu about his role in the series both as an actor and as an executive producer.
China’s iQiyi, LeTV Take ‘Teletubbies’ Streaming Rights
- Classic preschool kids TV show Teletubbies is headed to China’s online video market. iQiyi has acquired the AVOD and SVOD rights to more than 400 half hours of content from Canada’s DHX Media, including the original Teletubbies, Paddington and Caillou series. And in another non-exclusive licensing deal, LeTV has acquired the smart TV, set top box and web rights to 313 half-hours of the classic Teletubbies series in the English and Mandarin languages.
CBS, Showtime Ink Multiyear Deal With China Streaming Service PPTV
- PPTV has 400 million users, making it China’s leading SVOD service. CBS Studios International has signed an exclusive, multiyear licensing deal with China’s leading SVOD operator for a programming package of series from its CBS and Showtime lineups. The deal, announced by CBS Global Distribution Group CEO Armando Nunez and PPTV management committee chairman Fan Zhijun, will give the Chinese streaming service exclusive access to selected new CBS event series as well as select upcoming Showtime dramas. PPTV will also get access to current hit shows from both networks.
China’s Le Vision Acquires Lionsgate’s ‘Gods of Egypt,’ Unveils 10-Film Slate
- The U.S. arm of the Chinese studio also announced deals with Dark Horse Comics and ‘Lion King’ director Rob Minkoff. At the event, Le Vision Pictures USA announced its full slate of 10 films — all intended to be English-language, tentpole-scale movies that emphasize Chinese culture
AFM: Bruno Wu Launches $1.6 Billion Hollywood Fund With China’s Ezubo
November 5, 2015
- Beijing Sun Seven Star Culture, controlled by colorful Chinese entrepreneur and producer Bruno Wu, has partnered with the Yucheng Group to use Yucheng’s Ezubo financial platform, as an international film finance tool. The co-operation begins with the launch of the 10 billion yuan ($1.6 billion) China Global Alliance Film Fund in Los Angeles.
China’s Tencent Picks Up James Bond Catalog, Paramount Slate
November 6, 2015
- In two separate deals, Chinese Internet giant Tencent Holdings has picked up screening rights to the entire collection of James Bond franchise movies, and the upcoming slate of films from Paramount Pictures. The MGM deal gives Tencent transactional video on demand (TVOD) and subscription video on demand (SVOD) rights from “Dr. No” to “Skyfall.” The company will be able to air the movies via Tencent’s various online channels, including v.qq.com, film.qq.com and the Tencent Video app. The deal also includes “Spectre,” which be released in China on Nov. 13.
Hollywood, China Settle Revenue Rift
Nov. 6, 2015
- The deal comes as many in the industry are calling for greater transparency in the Chinese film market The American movie industry has reached a new agreement with the Chinese government to try to ensure Hollywood studios are paid more quickly and accurately.
‘Point Break’ to Open in China 3 Weeks Before U.S. Release
- According to producer Alcon Entertainment, China has approved the film for a wide release there on Dec. 3 — an unprecedented three weeks before its U.S. opening. The movie will be the last Hollywood release in China for 2015, following The Martian’s bow on Nov. 25 from Fox and The SpongeBob Movie on Dec. 1 from Paramount. Typically, imported movies are blocked from release in China during December and early January, during which time local films are given uncontested reign at China’s box office, now the world’s second-largest movie market.
Hollywood Studios Are Self-Censoring Movies To Appease Communist Censors In China, Says US Report
- As studios grow more dependent on ticket sales from the Chinese box office, filmmakers have become more willing to sanitize the content of their movies in order to appeal to the stringent sensibilities of Chinese censors. The People’s Republic of China, far from embracing the cultural mores of Hollywood, is actually changing the political complexion of American movies. That’s according to a critical new staff report from the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, a congressionally mandated body tasked with monitoring bilateral trade between the United States and China. The 16-page report, released Wednesday, paints an unnerving picture of the Communist country’s tacit but diffuse influence over Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters, illustrating how some studios are now so fearful of being denied distribution in China that they readily tweak lines of dialogue, alter scripts and revamp entire scenes to make them more palatable to the country’s tastes.
Li Bingbing to Star as Superhero in ‘Realm’
October 28, 2015
- Chinese actress Li Bingbing will star in Realm, a new film from Chinese production and distribution company Fundamental Films and Stan Lee Global Entertainment.
- The plot of the film is being kept under wraps but is based off an original idea from Lee, the mind behind some of the world’s most famous comic book characters including Spider-Man, the Hulk, Iron Man, Thor and the X-Men.
Imax, 20th Century Fox to Jointly Release Tentpoles in China
by Etan Vlessing 10/30/2015
- Imax and 20th Century Fox have inked their first long-term, multi-picture deal, which includes the two companies agreeing to jointly release movies in China.
- “We are also excited to be able to release blockbusters together in China, which we think could help Imax and Fox expand our footprint in that market jointly,” he added. The first long-term deal was preceded last year with Imax and 20th Century Fox signing an initial four-picture deal that covered DreamWorks Animation’s The Penguins of Madagascar, Ridley Scott’s Exodus: Gods and Kings and EuropaCorp’s Taken 3.
China’s iQiyi CEO Talks Push Into Originals, Hollywood Relationships, Netflix (Q&A)
by Georg Szalai 10/28/2015
- Gong Yu says the Baidu-owned online video powerhouse wants to adapt more foreign formats and sell its originals abroad. Chinese Internet giant Baidu’s iQiyi online video service has been pushing into original content, while emerging as a key partner for Hollywood studios as it looks to continue growing the number of paying subscribers among its 500 million monthly users.
- iQiyi founder and CEO Gong Yu last week visited London to attend the U.K.-China “Creativity is Great” forum, with Prince William and Kate Middleton also among the participants, during president Xi Jinping’s state visit to Britain. At the forum, Gong delivered a speech about China’s online video industry and called for further collaboration.
Hollywood stars launch casino resort
AAP – Wed, Oct 28, 2015
- Hollywood stars including Leonardo DiCaprio have launched Macau’s newest $US3.2 billion ($A4.45 billion) casino and entertainment resort, as the southern Chinese enclave’s high-roller gambling business takes a hit from Beijing’s corruption crackdown. Studio City’s opening was marked by the premiere of The Audition, a short movie promoting the resort, directed by Academy Award-winner Martin Scorsese and starring DiCaprio, Robert De Niro and Brad Pitt.
Lionsgate’s ‘Power Rangers’ Movie Casts Chinese Actor Ludi Lin as Black Ranger
by Patrick Brzeski 10/23/2015
- Lionsgate has recruited Chinese actor Ludi Lin to morph into the Black Ranger for the studio’s forthcoming Power Rangers movie.
- Lin was born in China but grew up in Australia and Canada before returning to Asia to pursue a career as an actor. Although somewhat new to the industry, he appears poised to break out. Earlier this year, Lin had a small role in Monster Hunt, China’s highest-grossing film ever, followed by a cameo in comedy blockbuster Lost in Hong Kong. He can next be seen in season two of Netflix period series Marco Polo.
The China story keeps getting better
by Geoffrey Eu Oct 23, 2015
- WHEN Matt Damon needs to be rescued from the Red Planet in The Martian, the mission to bring him home gets a big assist from China’s national space agency, which provides one of its booster rockets after Nasa’s own space probe explodes during launch.
- On the investment front, China’s Wanda Group put its financial clout (to the tune of US$30 million) behind boxing film Southpaw, which had its world premiere at this year’s Shanghai International Film Festival.
- And early next year when Kung Fu Panda 3 hits the screens, it will be a collaboration between DreamWorks Animation and Shanghai-based Oriental DreamWorks, marking the first time a major animated film is co-produced by a China-owned company.
- What in the (film) world is going on? The Chinese are making big strides in Hollywood – in every way imaginable, according to Yu Dong, CEO of the Bona Film Group, the largest privately-owned film distributor in China and one of the significant players in the country’s fast-growing film industry (along with e-commerce giant Wanda and Internet companies Alibaba, Baidu and Tencent).
NBCUniversal Signs Movie Licensing Deal With China’s iQIYI
by Patrick Brzeski 10/21/2015
- Chinese online video service iQIYI and NBCUniversal have signed a licensing deal giving the Chinese company the right to stream all of Universal Pictures’ forthcoming movies released theatrically in China over “the next few years.”
- In a statement announcing the deal, the two companies also hyped the benefits of increased online exposure in China for Universal, noting that iQIYI promoted the Fast & Furious and Jurassic Park franchise films on its services during the lead-up to the successful Chinese releases of Furious 7 and Jurassic World earlier this year.
‘Star Wars’: Stormtroopers Swarm Great Wall as Force Awakens in China
by Patrick Brzeski 10/21/2015
- Creating a world-class selfie opportunity for the legions of Chinese fans who turned up for the event, 500 Stormtrooper figures were arranged in marching formation on the steps leading up to one of the Wall’s guard towers. Disney also handed out hundreds of red and blue light sabers and other merchandise.
Hollywood reflections: Ridley Scott’s ‘The Martian’ shows where China and India stand in the global pecking order
October 16, 2015
- As The Martian’s plot unfolds we find Nasa scrambling to rescue Watney. Their initial plan is to send a supply pod to Mars so that Watney can survive till the next manned mission to the Red planet. However that plan fails as Nasa tries to rush through the rescue project, leading to the launch vehicle blowing up shortly after take-off. It’s then that the Chinese space agency decides to help its American counterpart. But the Chinese are cautious and there’s an interesting dialogue between two directors of the Chinese space agency where they debate the modalities of offering such help. Since this would involve offering a secret Chinese booster rocket to launch a supply craft, they decide to proceed gingerly and go for agency-to-agency cooperation.
- Contrast this with the Indian element in The Martian. The character of Vincent Kapoor, Nasa’s technical head of Mars operations, is actually played by Nigeria actor Chiwetel Ejiofor. In fact, throughout the movie one struggles to figure out why Ridley Scott had a character with an Indian surname when it was going to be played by a black actor. This becomes even more perplexing when one finds out that in the original book that inspired the movie Vincent Kapoor is actually Venkat Kapoor, an Indian-American.
- One can only conclude that the Indian element in The Martian was forced – it may not have been there at all. Whereas China is very much front and centre. That, as it happens, is a fair assessment of where China stands in the current global scheme of things and how the West views India – exotic and charming but too far down the pecking order.
Imax to Release Homegrown Movie ‘Mojin-The Lost Legend’ in China
by Etan Vlessing 10/14/2015
- The Wanda, Huayi Brothers co-production will be super-sized for a Dec. 18 release after ‘Monster Hunt’ became the highest-grossing Chinese movie ever. After Imax had success with its release of Monster Hunt in China (the film is the highest-grossing Chinese movie ever), the giant-screen exhibitor is set to release another local film in China, the epic 3D fantasy Mojin-The Lost Legend. The co-production between Wanda Media, Huayi Brothers Media and Beijing Enlight Pictures will be super-sized by Imax for a 3D Dec. 18 release. The move continues a charge by the Toronto-based giant-screen exhibitor into the local multiplex in China with homegrown movies.
Chinese Films Catching Up to Hollywood Releases in Visual Effects
Francis Eduard Ang | Oct 13, 2015
- The disparity in the visual effects quality of Chinese and Hollywood films is decreasing, according to both film industry analysts and Chinese box-office receipts. In particular, three special-effects films released this year were deemed to be box-office hits, namely, “Monster Hunt,” “Monkey King: Hero Is Back” and “Chronicles of the Ghostly Tribe.” All three films have won over the Chinese market, generally outperforming their Hollywood counterparts.
China’s Huayi Brothers Sets Superhero Franchise Pact With Michael Uslan
October 12, 2015
- China’s Huayi Brothers Media has teamed with “Batman” producer Michael Uslan to launch a film and TV franchise based on the “Thunder Agents” comic book series. Uslan announced the pact and the projects at a panel discussion during New York Comic Con this weekend. He and Huayi, China’s largest private sector film conglomerate, later held a launch party at the United Nations, which is also a partner on the package, along with Florida firm CEA Group, and graphic novels house IDW Publishing. United Nations secretary general Ban Ki-moon provided a skit by video link. The “Thunder Agents” comic series was created by Wally Wood and was popular in the 1960s when it was published by Tower Comics. Thunder is the acronym for a fictional group of peace keepers known as ‘The Higher United Nations Defense Enforcement Reserves.’ The elite group is selected from ordinary people, and benefit from high-tech equipment that help agents become super powers, and wage war against evil.
Oscar winner Annaud slams Academy for China film block
AFP October 13, 2015
- Beijing (AFP) – Acclaimed film director and Oscar winner Jean-Jacques Annaud furiously denounced the Academy Award organisers on Monday after he said they ordered his Sino-French co-production “Wolf Totem” out of the running for being insufficiently Chinese. Annaud told AFP he was “stupefied” by the last-minute move and accused the Hollywood-based Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences of a “banana republic level of arbitrariness”.
Lionsgate Pacts With Chinese Online Giant IQIYI
by Kevin Cassidy 10/9/2015
- The new output deal grants China’s largest internet video platform exclusive rights to theatrical titles including ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2’ and the next chapter in the ‘Divergent’ series. Lionsgate has signed a long-term output deal for a number of high-profile Lionsgate and third-party feature films with China’s largest comprehensive online video platform iQIYI. The agreement covers subscription video on demand (SVOD) and transactional video on demand (TVOD) rights for films streaming on iQIYI’s platforms, which possess over 500 million unique users. iQIYI will have an exclusive SVOD and TVOD window for Lionsgate theatrical titles covered under the agreement.
Hollywood’s Grip On China’s Movie Audience Is Fading Fast
Rob Cain Oct 8, 2015
- Hollywood’s sway over the Middle Kingdom’s multiplexes is in precipitous decline. This year imports from America will tally their lowest market share ever in China’s modern cinema history, most likely less than 35%. That’s a far cry from the 63% share they held as recently as the first half of 2012.
- China’s locally made movies are steadily getting better, and they’re drawing bigger box office numbers. In 2015 at least 7 Chinese movies will gross $150 million or more in mainland multiplexes. Only 3 or 4 Hollywood imports will reach that threshold. There have been only a few upside surprises–like Furious 7‘s stunning $391 million China gross–but plenty of surprising under-performers among the American imports. Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, is the latest such example. It will finish up its PRC run with a decent $135 million gross, but that’s barely half the level of the consensus pre-release estimates, and it will be the first Mission Impossible film to fail to crack China’s annual top 10.
Meet China’s La Peikang, the movie world’s most powerful man
The head of China’s biggest film company talks about censorship, increasing artistic quality and box office returns that, he says, will beat America’s by 2017
Phil Hoad Wednesday 7 October 2015
- La Peikang’s business card spells it out: “Chairman of the board, China Film Co.” Double-sided, in Mandarin and English. Off-white, with a tantalising iridescent sheen. I have a serious case of Patrick Bateman card-envy as I reach into my Nike sports wallet and fish out mine, with my new mobile number scrawled on it in ballpoint. Not what will impress the man who, on current projections, will oversee the world’s largest film market by 2017. State-owned China Film Co is a leading film producer that owns theatres, drives technological research and is the country’s sole importer of foreign films, too. La’s predecessor – the bullish impresario Han Sanping, who stepped down in 2014 after a 15-year reign – has been described as “Jack Valenti [creator of the US ratings system], Lew Wasserman [legendary studio executive] and Steven Spielberg rolled into one”.
The Deepening China-Hollywood Connection
- China currently has the world’s second largest film market (by total box office revenue), and some estimate based on recent numbers that it could overtake the U.S. by 2018. As China’s middle class has grown over the past decade, the number of cinemas in the nation has increased by more than 800%. Under Beijing’s current film import quota, those proliferating silver screens are allowed to show only 34 foreign films each year—a policy both political (allowing Beijing to deny entry to content not in line with Party values), and economic (bolstering the domestic industry by limiting foreign competition). As Hollywood studios see potential in China’s market but face the import quota, they have become increasingly willing to cater to Chinese censors to better their chances of making the cut, and to insert sometimes extraneous cultural references that appeal to Chinese filmgoers. At CCTV America May Lee looks at the deepening relationship between Hollywood and China:
China’s Animation Revenue for 2014 Reaches $16 Billion
EL Borromeo | Oct 03, 2015
- An official shared that for the year 2014, China’s animation industry generated around $16 billion worth of revenues, a remarkable feat for the booming domestic movie market segment. According to Liu Hongge, the Ministry of Culture’s center for international cultural exchange deputy director, the figure was a 15-percent increase from the previous year’s statistic. Liu spoke during the opening ceremony of the 12th China International Animation Art Week held in Changzhou City in east China’s Jiangsu Province.
Chinese Box Office for Terminator Genisys Surpasses North America
LOS ANGELES, Oct. 2, 2015
- Terminator Genisys, released by Paramount and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, hit the mainland Chinese market on August 23. The box office revenue of US$27 million dollars from its first day, ranking #4 on the list of first day box office revenue in China. After 10 days of release, Terminator Genisys’s box office in mainland China had already overtaken North America to become the largest box office market for the film around the world. Currently, the Chinese box office gross has reached US$113 million dollars, ranking #12 on the ranking list of box office revenue of imported films, and its global box office has already surpassed the US$400 million dollar mark. Though screenings in China began two months later than North America, the film’s strong performance in Chinese market was particularly important to its overall success.
Zhang Yimou to Be Honored at U.S.-China Film Summit in Los Angeles
by Patrick Brzeski 9/25/2015
- When Hollywood and Chinese film industry leaders gather for the 6th annual U.S.-China Film Summit on Nov. 5 in Los Angeles, Chinese director Zhang Yimou will receive a special lifetime achievement honor. As in past years, the Asia Society-sponsored event will feature a series of panel discussions addressing the raft of perennial cross-border industry topics: Chinese investment in Hollywood, Hollywood investment in China, production partnerships, technological developments, ancillary market potential and assorted legal and cultural complications. A gala dinner will follow.
Chinese-backed animation studio has Hollywood values and global ambitions
Tencent-funded Original Force Animation wants to make movies not just for Chinese audiences, but for global audiences, CEO Harley Zhao tells Richard Verrier
PUBLISHED : Friday, 25 September, 2015
- The studio, which officially opened last month, looks just like any other bustling animation house in the area. This one, however, is different: it’s the new motion picture division of China’s Original Force, a digital animation studio backed by Chinese social networking company Tencent Holdings. Despite having just 60 employees locally, Original Force Animation has big ambitions. It aims to create Hollywood-style films that can tap into China’s vast box office while also doing well internationally.
‘Mission’ Accomplished In China: ‘Rogue Nation’ Now Highest-Grossing 2D Film
by Anthony D’Alessandro and Nancy Tartaglione September 22, 2015
- Paramount and Skydance’s Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation has rocketed past Interstellar as the highest-grossing 2D Hollywood film ever at the Chinese box office. The Tom Cruise starrer has earned $124M since it’s Middle Kingdom release on September 8; that tops the $122M Christopher Nolan’s space epic made there last year. It also marks a milestone for e-commerce giant Alibaba, whose Alibaba Pictures made its first Hollywood investment with the actioner.
Warner Bros., China Media Capital Unveil Joint Venture to Produce Chinese-Language Tentpoles
by Patrick Brzeski 9/20/2015
- Headquartered in Hong Kong, with offices in Los Angeles and Beijing, the new Flagship Entertainment Group Ltd. will produce a slate of movies for global distribution, with the first titles released as soon as 2016. Ahead of Chinese president Xi Jingping’s visit to the United States this week, Warner Bros. announced a major agreement Sunday with China Media Capital (CMC), a giant investment fund backed by the Chinese government, to form a joint venture, Flagship Entertainment Group Limited. The new entity will develop, distribute and produce a slate of Chinese-language films, including global tent poles, for distribution in China and around the world. The first titles from the imprint could be released as soon as 2016.
China’s Tencent Pictures Partners With Legendary, Wanda Cinemas
By Alex Ritman 9/17/2015
- The Chinese giant will partner on Legendary’s upcoming big-budget video game adaptation ‘Warcraft.’ Tencent Pictures, the film investment banner of Chinese online giant Tencent, has revealed new partnerships with Legendary Pictures and Wanda Cinemas. The deal with Legendary will see Tencent partner on the production of upcoming video game adaptation Warcraft, according to the announcement.
Chinese Films Shine at Toronto International Film Festival
Francis Eduard Ang | Sep 15, 2015
- Thirteen Chinese films, including Jia Zhangke’s “Mountains May Depart,” are scheduled for screening at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) this year. Now on its 40th year, the festival opened on Thursday, Sept. 10. The 11-day festival is set to screen about 400 films from over 70 countries and regions. Some of the Chinese films scheduled to be screened include “Mountains May Depart” by Jia Zhangke, “Office” by Johnnie To, “Paths to the Soul” by Zhang Yang and “The Promised Land” by He Ping.
Toronto: Film Exec Says China Biz Is ‘Leapfrogging’ Over Hollywood
SEPTEMBER 15, 2015
- Hollywood has much to learn from China, “which is essentially leapfrogging over the West” in terms of film and TV innovation, founder-producer of Lavabear David Linde said at a Toronto panel session Tuesday. Linde reminded the audience that China is the second-largest market for film and is growing so fast that it will be No. 1 within a few years. The film companies cater to a digitally-savvy movie audience, while the boom in high-tech multiplexes has helped spur the growth.
Universal signs deal with China to open Beijing theme park
Sep. 15, 2015
- BEIJING (AP) — Universal Studios has signed a deal with a Chinese state-owned consortium to build a Hollywood theme park in Beijing to open in 2019, state media reported Tuesday.
Chinese Star Li Bingbing Lands In Australian Sci-Fi Pic ‘Nest’ (EXCLUSIVE)
September 14, 2015
- Li Bingbing, the top Chinese actress who is carving out a Hollywood career, is to star in “Nest,” an English-language sci-fi actioner being directed by Kimble Rendall. Li will also be a producer on the Chinese-Australian co-production, which is being represented by Darclight, the genre films offshoot of Sydney- and Los Angeles-based Arclight Films. Pre-production ahead of a shoot in 3D is under way in Australia’s Gold Coast and Darclight is pitching the film to distributors at the Toronto Film Festival.
China’s Tencent Makes Entire ‘Star Wars’ Saga Available Online
by Patrick Brzeski 9/14/2015
- In a landmark deal with Disney and 20th Century Fox, China’s 640 million internet users are getting legitimate digital access to the beloved franchise for the first time. Walt Disney and 20th Century Fox have partnered with Chinese Internet giant Tencent to make the entire Star Wars saga available to Chinese viewers online, the two companies said Monday.
Chinese film nabs Fedeora award at Venice Int’l Film Festival
Jackie Chan Returns To CAA, Plots China Expansion Plans
by Mike Fleming Jr September 14, 2015
- Jackie Chan has rejoined CAA. He signed with the agency days after leaving WME when his agent (and now manager) Philip Button exited the agency to join STX, where Chan will star in The Foreigner. Through its Century City and Beijing outposts, CAA will rep the action star and his company SR Media Corporation. A priority will be to package, find funding and sell projects generated by Chan’s company, with a focus on U.S.-China co-productions.
“Monster Hunt” sets China box office record
- BEIJING, Sept. 12 (Xinhua) — Domestic live-action animation “Monster Hunt” beat Hollywood blockbuster “Furious 7,” setting the record for highest-grossing film in the Chinese market and becoming the first Chinese film to take the top spot in 21 years. Its total box office sales exceeded 2.428 billion yuan (385.3 U.S.dollars) as of Friday since its debut on July 16, according to statistics released by an office affiliated with the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SARFT).
Chinese blockbuster Monster Hunt to hit North American theaters
by Shirley Li Posted September 10 2015
- The record-breaking Chinese blockbuster Monster Hunt is heading across the Pacific, thanks to distribution company FilmRise, which has acquired exclusive North American rights to the live-action and CGI film. Screen Daily first reported the deal.
China Shuts Down Industrial Polluters to Improve Air Quality at Shanghai Disneyland
by Patrick Brzeski 9/8/2015
- According to a local Chinese government authority, 153 heavy polluters in the resort’s vicinity have been ordered to close before the end of 2016 to boost the air quality and atmosphere around the park. Shanghai Disneyland, nearly 10 years in the making, is set to open its doors to the Chinese public in the first half of 2016.
China Film Execs Claim ‘Terminator’ a Victim of Box-Office Fraud to Boost Propaganda Movie
by Patrick Brzeski 9/7/2015
- Since its release on Aug. 28, Chinese propaganda film The Hundred Regiments Offensive has been battling Paramount’s Terminator: Genisys for the top spot at the Chinese box office, now the world’s second-most-valuable film market. The Chinese government has cited patriotism spurred by last week’s 70th anniversary of Japan’s defeat in World War II as the key to the film’s success. But a broad swath of China’s film community – from ordinary viewers to cinema managers to studio heads – has raised questions about the nationalistic war epic’s outsize performance.
Alibaba Pictures Readies China Release Of ‘Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation’
by Ali Jaafar September 7, 2015
- Alibaba Pictures announced today that Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation will debut in Chinese cinemas nationwide tomorrow. The film represents Alibaba’s first investment in a Hollywood project. In addition to its financial investment, the film unit of the e-commerce giant has been collaborating with Paramount for weeks on online ticketing, promotion and merchandising for the film’s release in China. Over the past two months, Alibaba Pictures has leveraged Alibaba Group’s ecosystem and massive user base to launch a user-targeted approach toward movie promotion and merchandising, including several rounds of advance ticket sales through online portal Taobao Movie. There has also been a tie-up with Mobile Taobao to release online games related to the movie. Tapping into the large base of manufacturers and merchants on Alibaba Group’s platforms, Paramount Pictures found about 30 merchants to handle the manufacture and sale of authentic movie merchandise in China.
China Has Hollywood’s Attention. It Wants More
Alibaba and other Chinese players see more than stars in Tinseltown
Anousha Sakoui Bloomberg Businessweek September 4, 2015
- Alibaba’s Jack Ma, China’s second-richest person, made headlines last year when he visited Hollywood looking for deals. He met with studio executives such as Sony Pictures’ Michael Lynton and sat courtside at a Los Angeles Lakers game with superagent Ari Emanuel and actor Jet Li. One memento of the trip surfaced this summer in the form of the Paramount Pictures hit Mission: Impossible—Rogue Nation. Alibaba Pictures Group invested in the feature, which generated $479 million in global box office through Aug. 30, and got the rights to sell merchandise and tickets to its 367 million customers in China when the film opens there on Sept. 8. The deal with Viacom’s Paramount is one of more than a half-dozen in the past year between U.S. studios and Chinese companies that are quickly putting down roots in Hollywood. Alibaba, Dalian Wanda Group, Huayi Brothers Media, and others want to funnel films through their media outlets at home, as well as deepen their understanding of the lucrative business. “China is trying to learn why Hollywood is so successful,” says Stanley Rosen, a University of Southern California political science professor who studies the relationship between the mainland and the U.S. film industry. China, he says, wants to master the business “from the bottom up.”
Box Office: Chinese Crowds Lifting ‘Terminator Genisys’ Into Hit Territory
August 30, 2015
- The critically derided cyborg sequel has earned a disappointing $89.4 million in the U.S., but it’s putting up huge numbers in the People’s Republic. The fifth film in the “Terminator” series topped foreign charts for the second weekend in a row, with the bulk of its $23.6 million overseas gross coming from China. It has made nearly as much there in eight days of release as it did in its entire stateside run, picking up $82.8 million.
Warner Bros. to Partner with China Media Capital to Produce Films in China
Francis Eduard Ang | Aug 26, 2015
- Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. is in talks with China Media Capital for a joint venture to produce local-language films in China, according to people with information on the potential partnership. In the past, Hollywood studios have worked with partners in China to produce films, but those deals would normally not be long-term and last only a few films. This deal, which aims to make several films annually, could be the most expansive of its kind.
Arnie might be back after all: Chinese debut could save Terminator franchise
Phil Hoad Monday 24 August 2015
- He’ll be back. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s dusty catchphrase was looking a mite optimistic a few weeks ago, after Terminator Genisys’s under-powered launch – as was Paramount’s decision to pencil in a 19 May 2017 release for a sixth instalment to the franchise. A stonking $27.4m opening Sunday in China changes all that, boosting the $155m-budget film much closer to the $400m mark, and the kind of profit margin that gets dead android fingers twitching again. It’s the country’s fourth biggest opening day, behind Furious 7 ($63m), Avengers: Age of Ultron ($33.9m) and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen ($30m) – and far in advance of the US first day ($8.9m). China audiences were probably gagging for Hollywood product after the two-month blackout, and that old publicity warhorse Schwarzenegger took full advantage, personally chaperoning the film into the country (even appearing on the local version of The Voice).
Who is Fan Bingbing: The first Asian actress to join Hollywood’s rich list?
By Fiona Keating August 22, 2015
- Fan Bingbing is now fourth highest-paid actress in the world, worth $21m (£13.38m) according to Forbes. The actress, who is relatively unknown actress in the West, has huge earning power and courted by luxury brands to promote their goods to China’s population of one billion. The 33-year-old’s only Hollywood performance was as the character Blink (Clarice Ferguson) in X-Men: Days of Future Past. But she is slated to appear in more instalments in the sci-fi film franchise.
Homegrown movies in China set high bar for Hollywood imports
- The latest numbers show domestic live-action animation Monster Hunt was pushing 2.1 billion yuan (US$320 million) in ticket sales, just short of the 2.4 billion yuan (US$375 million) that earned US action film Furious 7 the top spot in April.
- Monkey King: Hero is Back, a Chinese animated feature film, recently dethroned Kung Fu Panda 2 to become the highest grossing animated film in China. Another big earner, Jian Bing Man, made more than 1 billion yuan (US$156 million), even though it is the directorial debut from Dong Chengpeng.
China’s iQiyi to Show ‘Talking to Hollywood With Betty Zhou’
by Abid Rahman 8/14/2015
- Talking to Hollywood With Betty Zhou has been created in conjunction with Paramount Pictures, Walt Disney Studios, Universal Pictures and Sony Pictures Entertainment and will feature behind the scenes news, interviews with film stars and other exclusive content linked to upcoming Hollywood releases in China.
Rogue One—The Daring Mission Has Begun: Cast and Crew Announced
Anthology Series // AUGUST 15, 2015
- The filmmakers have assembled a stellar cast, including Felicity Jones, nominated for an Academy Award for her leading role in The Theory of Everything; Diego Luna, who was featured in 2008’s Oscar-winning Milk and 2013’s Elysium; Ben Mendelsohn, recently nominated for an Emmy for his leading role in Bloodline and co-starring in the upcoming Mississippi Grind; Donnie Yen, Hong Kong action star and martial artist who starred in Ip Man and Blade II; Jiang Wen, who co-wrote, produced , directed and starred in the award-winning Let the Bullets Fly and Devils on the Doorstep; Forest Whitaker, recently featured in the critically-acclaimed Lee Daniels’ The Butler and winner of an Academy Award for his leading role in 2006’s The Last King of Scotland; Mads Mikkelsen, who starred in The Hunt and was the memorable villain from 2006’s Casino Royale; Alan Tudyk, who plays a performance-capture character in Rogue One, stars in the soon-to-be-released Con Man series and Trumbo, which releases this November; and Riz Ahmed, who was recently featured in Nightcrawler and starred in the BAFTA-winning film Four Lions.
China’s Original Force Animation Pushes Into Feature Films With 2 Hollywood Vets
Movies | By Todd Cunningham on August 12, 2015
- China’s Original Force Animation is expanding into feature films, having named Hollywood veterans Sandra Rabins and Penney Finkelman Cox co-presidents and opened a Los Angeles office, company founder and president Harley Zhao said Wednesday. Rabins and Finkelman Cox, who were instrumental in the launch of DreamWorks’ and Sony’s animation arms, yielding blockbusters “Shrek,” “Prince of Egypt” and “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs,” said Original Force’s goal is to deliver a computer-generated animated film every 18 months.
‘Monster Hunt’ Passes ‘Transformers 4’ In China; Now 2nd Highest-Grossing Film Ever
by Nancy Tartaglione August 9, 2015
- If Monster Hunt has its sights set on all-time Middle Kingdom box office champ, Furious 7, it will need to put another $62.6M in the tank. While that Universal title is still several laps ahead, the local-language juggernaut has been on a tear, steadily rounding up records during its 25-day run thus far. Rentrak puts Monster Hunt‘s cume as of Sunday at $328.4M locally which shoots it past Transformers: Age Of Extinction ($318.78M) to become the No. 2 movie ever at the Chinese box office. The Global Times reports that Monster Hunt‘s official Sina Weibo account said it had earned 2B yuan ($322M) as of Saturday night. The only other film ever to cross 2B is Furious 7 with 2.43B.
China is creating its own sci-fi franchise to rival “Transformers” and “The Hunger Games”
Written by Josh Horwitz August 06, 2015
- Chinese film studios have wrapped up production of The Three-Body Problem, an adaptation of a popular sci-fi novel about an alien invasion that takes place during the Cultural Revolution. The three-part series that it’s the first part of has sold more than a million copies in China—unusually high popularity for the genre in China. In November 2014, the first book was translated into English and published in the United States by Tor Books. The film will be the first of a five-part series co-produced by Alibaba Pictures and Yoozoo pictures, both relatively new players in China’s film industry. Each feature is reported to have a budget of 200 million yuan (about US$32 million), and the first feature is to hit theaters in July 2016.
‘Monster Hunt’ Becomes Highest-Grossing Chinese Movie Ever
by Abid Rahman 7/27/2015
- Fantasy adventure movie Monster Hunt has become the highest-grossing Chinese movie of all time. Now in its second week in theaters, Monster Hunt grabbed another $46 million at the Chinese box office this weekend to give it a worldwide cume of $211 million, taking it past Lost in Thailand, which grossed $185 million back in 2013.
Jack Ma-backed Mission Impossible 5 to hit China in September
Xinhua and Staff Reporter 2015-07-27
- Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, the fifth installment in the action franchise starring Tom Cruise, will open in China on Sept. 8, later than its first release in North America on July 31.
Monkey King overtakes Kung Fu Panda 2 as China’s animation top earner
- BEIJING, July 25 (Xinhua) — China-made animated feature “Monkey King: The Hero is Back” had raked in 620 million yuan (99.8 million U.S. dollar) as of 4:00 p.m. Saturday, snatching the throne of the highest grossing animated film in Chinese cinemas formerly held by “Kung Fu Panda 2.”
Hollywood’s New Backer: China
From new release ‘Southpaw’ to startup studios, Hollywood reaches for Chinese investors
By Ben Fritz July 25, 2015
- The boxing drama “Southpaw” released over the weekend has a seemingly unlikely partner in its corner: Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda Corp. Wanda financed the approximately $30 million production budget for the Jake Gyllenhaal movie. It was produced and is being released by Weinstein Co., which is paying for about $35 million of marketing expenses. The two companies will split any profits.
Special Report: How Sony sanitized Adam Sandler movie to please Chinese censors
HONG KONG/LOS ANGELES | By Clare Baldwin and Kristina Cooke Fri Jul 24, 2015
- In a 2013 script for the movie “Pixels,” intergalactic aliens blast a hole in one of China’s national treasures – the Great Wall. That scene is gone from the final version of the sci-fi comedy, starring Adam Sandler and released by Sony Pictures Entertainment this week in the United States. The aliens strike iconic sites elsewhere, smashing the Taj Mahal in India, the Washington Monument and parts of Manhattan. Sony executives spared the Great Wall because they were anxious to get the movie approved for release in China, a review of internal Sony Pictures emails shows. It is just one of a series of changes aimed at stripping the movie of content that, Sony managers feared, Chinese authorities might have construed as casting their country in a negative light.
China and Hollywood test blockbuster formula. Box office windfall?
‘The Great Wall’ being filmed now near Beijing is a litmus test for US-China joint film projects. The Chinese box office is No. 2 globally, behind the US.
By Michael Holtz, Staff writer July 20, 2015
- Beijing — Matt Damon has long been one of Hollywood’s biggest stars. But in China, even he admits that fans have more interest in homegrown actors like Lu Han, a 25-year-old teenage heartthrob.
- “The Great Wall” has no shortage of Chinese stars, including Mr. Lu and veteran Hong Kong actor Andy Lau. It’s also the first English-language movie by Zhang Yimou, one of China’s best-known directors dating to his simple elegiac films of small town Chinese life. In recent years, he has directed action films like the Kung Fu drama “House of Flying Daggers,” and ”Hero,” and the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. What little has been disclosed about the movie reveals that it focuses on a group of elite warriors who use the Great Wall as a weapon to combat otherworldly creatures. It’s due for global release in November 2016.
Forget ‘Minions,’ ‘Monster Hunt’ and ‘Monkey King’ Smash Chinese Box Office Records
By Amid Amidi on Sunday July 19, 2015
- The top-grossing international feature film was neither Ant-Man nor Minions this weekend; it was a Chinese 3-D live-action/animation hybrid called Monster Hunt. Below is its insane trailer which includes a man-giving-birth-to-a-cartoon scene:
- Monster Hunt wasn’t the only animation project leading the Chinese box office charge. The fully-animated CGI movie Monkey King: Hero is Back earned $22.5M at the Chinese box office this weekend. With $70M banked after two frames, Monkey King, directed by Tian Xiao Peng, has now surpassed Boonie Bears: To the Rescue to become China’s highest-grossing local animated film, says Film Business Asia. (Note: The latter site provides different foreign figures than Rentrak, which we use, but either way, it’s a record.) Here is the Monkey King trailer, which includes “creative consultation” from Hoodwinked co-director/writer Cory Edwards:
- MONSTER HUNT Trailer (2015) Martial-Arts Fantasy Movie https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FbhsvxqoCG4
- Monkey King: Hero is Back (西游记之大圣归来) 2015 English Trailer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aqovlTzY2_U
Hollywood Pays Attention As China’s Movie Box Office Grows By 50%; Nation Adds Nearly 30 Screens A Day
By Duncan Hewitt July 16 2015
- SHANGHAI — China’s movie box-office receipts continued their heady growth in the first half of this year, up 50 percent over the same period last year. Figures from China’s film regulator show total revenue of $3.3 billion, compared to $2.2 billion in the first half of 2014. It’s a further sign that the pace of revenue growth, which has made China the world’s second largest movie market in recent years, and attracted growing attention from Hollywood, is only picking up. Strong growth in the second half of last year meant total revenue for 2014 was $4.8 billion, up 36 percent on the previous year. If current rates continue, China’s box office is on course to reach almost two-thirds of that of the U.S., the world’s No. 1 market, by the end of this year. U.S. box office receipts last year were $10.3 billion, after declining from the previous year’s figure.
China’s Box Office Exceeds 20 Bln in 1st Half of 2015
- China’s box office has totaled 20.4 billion yuan or 3.3 billion U.S. dollars in the first half of this year. Domestic films raked in very respectable 9.5 billion yuan, compared to foreign movies which grossed 10.8 billion yuan.
Shanghai Disneyland Plans ‘Star Wars,’ Marvel Attractions
July 14, 2015
- HONG KONG — The upcoming Shanghai Disneyland will boast six themed lands, many specially designed for Chinese guests. The $5.5 billion theme park, Disney’s first in mainland China, will also feature “Star Wars” and Marvel attractions, including ones with the superheroes Iron Man, Spider-Man and the Hulk. “We are building something truly special here in Shanghai that not only showcases the best of Disney’s storytelling but also celebrates and incorporates China’s incredibly rich heritage to create a one-of-a-kind destination that will delight and entertain the people of China for generations to come,” said Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger at a presentation at the Shanghai Expo Centre.
‘Rush Hour’ Stars Jackie Chan, Chris Tucker Reunite in China
by Ashley Lee 7/14/2015
- “He walks around with like 15 people, and I’m in the back of the 15 people,” Tucker said on ‘The Late Late Show.’ ” ‘Jackie, wait up! Hold up! This don’t look right, we’re supposed to be together!’ ” Chris Tucker reunited with his Rush Hour co-star Jackie Chan in China recently, he told James Corden on Monday’s Late Late Show.
- Chris Tucker Visits Jackie Chan in China https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rq-oCKFeDA8
Mel Gibson Confirmed as Adviser on China’s ‘Bombing’
July 13, 2015
- Mel Gibson has been confirmed as joining big-budget Chinese film “The Bombing” as a creative adviser. Bruce Willis is part of the cast of the 3D WWII movie.
- The story focuses on the World War II bombing of the city of Chongquing by Japanese forces. The city served as the provisional capital of forces commanded by Chiang Kai-Shek. “I hope audiences around the world can appreciate the cruelty of war and our courage, determination and capability to fight against it,” Shi Jianxiang said in a statement. “China needs such movies that deliver hope and spirit.”
Chinese Superhero Movie ‘Pancake Man’ Heads For U.S. Release (EXCLUSIVE)
JULY 10, 2015
- Chinese superhero comedy “Pancake Man” (“Jian Bing Man”), which features cameos from Jean-Claude van Damme, is set to get a North American release on July 24. “Pancake” and Hong Kong-made sports action picture “To the Fore” will both be distributed by Milt Barlow’s specialty company Asia Releasing on behalf of rights holder Magnum Films.
‘The Great Wall’ Aims to Bridge Hollywood-China Divide
by Clifford Coonan 7/3/2015
- The fantasy epic features Matt Damon and Willem Dafoe alongside a host of major Chinese talent.
- “The reason I took this film on is it is about Chinese culture, which attracted me the most,” said Zhang, director of arthouse favorites Raise the Red Lantern, Red Sorghum and To Live. “Even though it is about fighting against monsters on the Great Wall, it still deals with a lot of what I want to express. It includes everything a good film needs — good actors and a good story.”
- “If everyone else in the world does more [box office] than China, it’s great, if China does more, great, that’s even better,” said Loehr. “The outlook from the beginning was, this is an international, English-language movie with Matt Damon and monsters, and it speaks to a specific demographic, and it happens to have Chinese themes.”
Top Chinese Director Says Local Filmmakers Must Raise Their Game to Compete With
by Clifford Coonan 7/2/2015
- With his new film, ‘Monk Comes Down the Mountain,’ ‘Farewell, My Concubine’ director Chen Kaige says he used a Western crew to help him “reach an advanced international level from the technology and industry perspective.” Top Chinese director Chen Kaige said that while the movie industry was booming in his country, local filmmakers needed to raise their standards if domestic films were to compete with Hollywood in the world’s second largest market.
China Surpasses 20B Yuan Mark for Total Gross of Films Earlier Than Last Year: Report
EL Borromeo | Jul 02, 2015
- China has surpassed the 20-billion-yuan mark for the total gross of films released in the country on Monday night. This is according to the report posted by China Movie Channel website 1905.com. The feat was achieved in only 180 days–66 days earlier than it took to reach the same accomplishment in 2014. In total, China’s domestic films gathered a total of 9.3 billion yuan. This comprises 46.5 percent of the combined gross from both local and foreign titles released in the Chinese mainland. Thirty-nine films have pulled in over 100 million yuan, out of all the films released starting January. The figure is a benchmark that judges whether a film has hit a box-office success. Twenty of these are local films, while 19 are foreign titles.
China box office surges nearly 50% in first half of 2015
By Julie Makinen June 29, 2015
- Mainland China’s box-office receipts jumped nearly 50% in the first half of 2015, powered by Hollywood tentpoles “Furious 7,” “Avengers: Age of Ultron” and “Jurassic World.” About $3.3 billion in tickets were sold in the first six months of the year, according to figures from film industry consulting firm Artisan Gateway. That’s a leap of 48.9% over the first half of 2014. Imported films accounted for 52.5% of ticket sales.
Chinese elements in Hollywood films
Many of Hollywood’s biggest films are incorporating a greater number of Chinese elements into them, including symbols, language and dress
By chinadaily.com.cn 11:40AM BST 26 Jun 2015
- Hollywood has a history of casting Caucasian actors for films where the race of the character is anything but white, including the role of Mr. Yunioshi by American actor Mickey Rooney in Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Christian Bale’s role as an Egyptian prince in Exodus: Gods and Kings.
- Besides actors and directors, characters based on Chinese people are more prevalent in Western productions today. Chinese migrant workers contributed a great deal to making the boat in the film 2012. Although they were small characters in the film as a whole, they were crucial for the entire flow of the film.
- Symbols of China Kung fu and pandas seem to be the two elements immediately associated with China, and this also shows in films.
- The Chinese language Actor Bruce Willis showed his language skills in the film Red, where he said “A few years ago, Ilived in Wuhan” in Chinese. This caused quite a stir in the theatres for Chinese audiences.
- Chinese dress Thirteen courtesans wearing Chinese cheongsams walking in a line in Zhang Yimou’s The Flowers of War formed a beautiful sight of Eastern beauty. Actress Maggie Cheung’s 23 cheongsams in director Wong Kar-wai’s In the Mood for Love sometimes drew viewers’ attention from her acting to her wardrobe. Kirsten Dunst put on a red cheongsam as she attended a party in Spiderman 2. Kidman’s Chinese dresses in Australia were also a major selling point that drew audiences to the theatres.
- Chinese locations Aside from using Chinese elements in films, many Hollywood films were literally filmed in China.
China’s Movie Industry is Growing Faster Than Any Other Country’s Anywhere, Any Time, Ever
Rob Cain Contributor Jun 26, 2015
- China is undergoing the largest and most rapid development of a middle class in human history. Hundreds of millions of people are moving up from subsistence to affluence before our eyes.
- Cinema construction is booming. Thousands of new screens are opening each year, affording millions of potential customers the opportunity—many of them for the first time ever—to enjoy the moviegoing experience in modern multiplexes.
- The Chinese population has embraced movies, both foreign and increasingly domestically made Chinese movies, with exuberance. High ticket prices and generally mediocre films haven’t deterred them from filling up theaters to capacity.
China’s Alibaba Pictures Investing in Paramount’s ‘Mission: Impossible 5’
by Abid Rahman, Georg Szalai 6/24/2015
- China’s Alibaba Pictures said on Wednesday that Paramount’s Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation will be its first Hollywood investment. In addition to making an investment of an unspecified amount in the Tom Cruise-led franchise film, Alibaba Pictures, the film unit of e-commerce giant Alibaba, said it would become an official partner for the promotion of the movie in China. In a statement, the companies said Alibaba Pictures and Paramount would collaborate in the areas of online ticketing, merchandising and promotion of the movie in China.
East West Bank’s China Chief: More China-Hollywood Collaborations Are Underway
EL Borromeo | Jun 20, 2015
- East West Bank’s China chief revealed at the Shanghai International Film Festival that more China-Hollywood collaborations are underway. He added that U.S. firms are now making deals with prospect partners in the country. Bennett Pozil, the executive vice president and head of corporate banking at East West China, said “the opportunities that [the firm] are involved in at the moment are being dominated by picture-by-picture versus overall larger investment.” Pozil added that cinemagoers are more likely to see what they “saw earlier this year with Hunan/Lionsgate and Huayi/STX.”
China has Hollywood-size ambitions for film industry
AFP By Bill Savadove June 18, 2015
- Chinese companies are ramping up investment in the foreign entertainment industry, as the country seeks to boost “soft power” by crafting films which appeal to global audiences, industry officials said this week on the sidelines of the Shanghai film festival.
- Already, China’s Huayi Brothers Media Corp. plans to jointly produce at least 18 films with US film and television studio STX Entertainment, while Chinese conglomerate Fosun International has taken a stake in US media company Studio 8. Moore sees the likelihood of a Chinese company taking over a US studio, citing possible players like e-commerce giant Alibaba and property developer Wanda Group, which bought US cinema chain AMC Entertainment for $2.6 billion in 2012. “You can imagine from the Chinese perspective, they’re trying to get Chinese culture out around the world,” Moore said.
China screens original ‘Star Wars’ film in cinemas for first time
AFP Published Tuesday, June 16, 2015
- SHANGHAI – China has become one with the Force by showing the original “Star Wars” film at cinemas for the first time, nearly four decades after it became a global hit and cornerstone of Western popular culture. The Shanghai International Film Festival is showing all six “Star Wars” films this week, including the first screenings in mainland Chinese theatres of the original trilogy, festival organisers said. There are no plans for nationwide release.
China Pushed Jurassic World to global record
By Frank Pallotta CNNMoney (New York) June 15, 2015
- “Jurassic World” grossed the biggest box office opening in global history bringing in $524.1 million this weekend, and a big part of that success is thanks to international markets, particularly China. The Universal film made $315.3 million internationally for the biggest international opening of all time coming in at #1 in all 66 foreign markets that it premiered in. A huge chunk of that total came from the second-largest movie market in the world, China.
Shanghai Film Festival: China’s iQiyi Announces 5M Paid Subscribers for Streaming Service
by Clifford Coonan 6/15/2015
- The film unit of Internet giant Baidu plans to buy distribution rights to more than 1,000 U.S. movie titles to meet swelling demand from its users for Hollywood content. Baidu’s online video subsidiary unit iQiyi has reached five million paid subscribers, which marks a 765 percent annual increase, and said it was planning to improve its content offering to serve paying members. “In the future, iQiyi will continue to provide more excellent domestic and international content to members,” iQiyi founder and chief executive Gong Yu told THR at an event at the Shanghai International Film Festival. iQiyi plans to buy distribution rights to more than 1,000 U.S. movie titles to meet swelling demand from its users for Hollywood content, and plans to make seven local films and one Hollywood-style film next year. Over one million users took part in its crowdfunding program for The Golden Era, a film by Hong Kong director Ann Hui, raising nearly $3 million in three minutes.
Shanghai Film Festival: IMAX, China Media Capital Announce Film Fund
by Abid Rahman 6/16/2015
- The newly created IMAX China Film Fund will initially be capitalized at $50 million, the two companies said, and will focus on producing a minimum of 10 Mandarin-language tentpole films that can fully leverage IMAX technology. There would be an emphasis on producing blockbusters created by high-profile filmmakers. Both companies said the aim of the fund would be to provide new digital content to theaters throughout China, as well as select theaters in IMAX’s global network. Operating under an IMAX-CMC greenlight committee, the new fund will set aside between $3 million and $7 million per film. A statement from the companies also said the fund is intended to support an existing slate of successful Chinese IMAX products, including such past titles as The Monkey King and Dragon Blade.
Bruce Willis to Star in Chinese-Language WWII Epic ‘The Bombing’
by Clifford Coonan 6/4/2015
- He will feature alongside Asian stars Song Seung-heon, Nicholas Tse and Liu Ye. Bruce Willis will star in a $56 million 3D Chinese-language war epic, The Bombing, about Japan’s aerial bombardment of the southwestern city of Chongqing in World War II.
Justin Lin, Chinese Stars Zhao Wei and Huang Xiaoming Honored With Handprint Ceremony
by Chris Gardner 6/3/2015
- Hollywood’s TCL Chinese Theatre hosted a packed party on Wednesday morning to commemorate it’s 88th birthday, marking the milestone with a special handprint ceremony to honor filmmaker Justin Lin and Chinese superstars Zhao Wei and Huang Xiaoming.
China Box Office: ‘Jurassic World’ Scores Monster Opening Day
Clifford Coonan 6/11/2015
- The Chris Pratt-starring reboot opens in North America through Universal on June 12. Universal’s monster movie Jurassic World bared its teeth in the world’s second-biggest film market on Wednesday, taking $16.38 million on its opening day in China for a gross of $17.77 million, once preview takings are factored in. The movie enjoyed 64,630 showings, according to data from the research group EntGroup, and 2.63 million admissions, with theatergoers paying a relatively high $6.40 per ticket.
Kendall Jenner Stuns On Cover Of ‘Vogue China’ — Get Her Smokey Eye
Mon, June 1, 2015
- Another day, another major fashion and beauty moment for Kendall Jenner as she debuts her latest magazine cover for ‘Vogue China.’ Out in July, Kendall sported a seriously retro smokey eye and the glossiest hair we’ve ever seen.
IMAX China files for HK IPO, betting on booming film demand
May 29, 2015
- May 29 IMAX China Holding Inc, majority-owned by the namesake giant screen movie theater equipment maker, filed for an initial public offering in Hong Kong, looking to benefit from booming entertainment demand in the world’s second largest economy. IMAX China didn’t disclose the planned size of the listing, intended to raise funds for expansion, and which has Morgan Stanley as a sponsor.
- The company was valued at $400 million when IMAX Corp sold a stake of 20 percent to two private equity firms last year. The company has strong ties to China’s largest movie chain, Wanda Cinema, which makes up nearly half of all IMAX theaters in the country and nearly a quarter of IMAX China’s revenue.
US studios making Hollywood series for China’s CCTV
by Stewart Clarke May 28, 2015
- Several US studios have teamed to create Talking to Hollywood with Betty Zhou, a new Hollywood-skewed news programme for China’s CCTV6.
- “Talking to Hollywood with Betty Zhou delivers an inside look at the movie business to its most passionate and dedicated fans in China,” said Moore. “My colleagues in Hollywood and I look forward to working with our friends at CCTV6 on this exciting new venture.”
China: World’s largest Disney Store opens in Shanghai
China makes good movies now, says AFPF head
- President of the French Association of Film Producers (AFPF) Stephane Guenin saw opportunities for cooperation with China in action movies and visual effects. Guenin made the remarks in an exclusive interview with Xinhua. “It would be nice to work with China in developing set construction, because we knew how to prepare it but now we lost this expertise,” said Guenin at the ongoing 68th Festival de Cannes.
China Box Office: ‘Avengers’ Unseats ‘Furious 7’ as Hollywood’s Big Run Continues
by Clifford Coonan 5/19/2015
- Disney’s superhero blockbuster Avengers: Age of Ultron usurped Furious 7 at the top of the box-office charts in China, taking a massive $156.3 million in its first six days in the world’s second-biggest film market.
How China’s Censors Influence Hollywood
May 18, 2015
- Those huge box-office numbers underscore just how essential the Chinese market has become to Hollywood’s bottom line. Because money is power, that also means the Communist Party has increasing influence over how some Hollywood movies are made and how they portray China.
- Consider Mission: Impossible III, which was partially shot in Shanghai. The film’s establishing shot of Shanghai shows Tom Cruise walking past the winking lights of the modern cityscape and then past underwear hanging from a clothesline. The movie was released in 2006. Even now, many people in Shanghai don’t own dryers and hang their clothes out on the balcony to dry. “The censors felt that it did not portray Shanghai in a positive light, so that scene was removed from the movie,” says T.J. Green, CEO of Apex Entertainment, which owns and builds movie theaters in China.
- Nor do they like to see Chinese portrayed as incapable of defending themselves. In the latest 007 movie, Skyfall, an assassin walks into a skyscraper in Shanghai’s showcase financial district and shoots a security guard. Censors ordered that scene cut, too. “My speculation would be they didn’t like the fact that a foreign perpetrator comes in and a Chinese security guard just gets shot and looks weak,” says Green, who adds that the scene amounts to a loss of face. From the censors’ perspective, the movie is saying: “They can’t secure their most prized assets in China.”
CANNES WATCH: Li Bing Bing Says China’s Where the Money’s At
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS MAY 18, 2015
- “There’s a shift in the global movie box office. China is a huge box office market,” she said, pointing to the blockbuster success of “Transformers 4” and “Fast and Furious 7” in China. “I don’t know the exact numbers but it shook up Hollywood. . Both of the films made more money in China than they did in the US. The world is changing and a lot of things are leaning towards this part of the world,” Li said. “If you’re looking more money, or a bigger market share, then you have to go to China. So it doesn’t matter if we go (to Hollywood), or they come to us, for sure you will see more collaborations in the future.”
China’s Pivotal Role in Hollywood’s Billion Dollar Movie Club
- Of the 12 films that have reached billionaire box office status since 2011, half wouldn’t have gotten there without China’s ticket sales. The two most recent Transformers films, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the Jurassic Park re-release and now Avengers: Age of Ultron all made it over the top thanks to China’s movie-going audiences.
Cannes: China’s FCN, ‘Ghost Rider’ Producer Team on $300 Million, 10-Movie Slate
by Clifford Coonan 5/16/2015
- Chinese business platform Financing City Network (FCN) announced on Saturday a strategic cooperation deal with SP International Pictures (SPIP) to make 10 Hollywood movies in the next five years, with a total budget of $300 million. SPIP is a Hollywood film production and distribution group founded by Steven Paul, who has produced and distributed 71 films, including Wolves, Ghost Rider, Tekken and Baby Geniuses. The agreement, which also includes East & West Culture Media Co., aims to jointly build a new Sino-U.S. film capital platform.
China’s Entertainment Giant Wanda to Distribute ‘The Ghouls’ in U.S. via AMC Theaters
EL Borromeo | May 16, 2015
- Wanda, China’s entertainment and real estate giant, is set to distribute the big-budget film “The Ghouls” in the United States through the AMC Entertainment, which it acquired in 2012.
- “The Ghouls” is inspired by Zhang Muye’s online fantasy adventure novels, which have sold around 9 million copies. The movie adaptation will be helmed by one of China’s hottest directors, Wu’ershan.
Netflix in Talks With Alibaba-backed Wasu Media About China Partnership
by Clifford Coonan 5/15/2015
- Netflix is talking to Wasu Media, a Chinese media group backed by Alibaba chief Jack Ma, and other possible partners, as it tries to access the Chinese online video market, Bloomberg reported. China is the world’s largest Internet market with 649 million users, with 60 percent of the audience using smartphones and tablets to watch. The online video market is worth an estimated $6 billion. Licenses for online content are strictly controlled by the government and the regulator, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT) has given Internet TV licenses to seven companies, including Wasu.
Sino-Hollywood sci-fi production tells China-based story
- China, the world’s second-largest movie market, isn’t just a source of big money for Hollywood. Growing numbers of moviemakers are being inspired by China’s culture and rich history. The first Sino-Hollywood sci-fi production, the short movie Log Out is an attempt to tell a completely China-based futuristic story. It is helmed by US director Austin Smithard, who earlier worked with Steven Spielberg on Jurassic Park and Schindler’s List, and depicts a time in the near future when people become unprecedentedly reliant on technology and live in a world with little interpersonal communication.
China’s meteoric box-office rise
Published: 3:17 PM, May 11, 2015
- BEIJING – A new box-office champion is coming soon to China – and the world. Avengers: Age of Ultron, debuting in China on May 12, is poised to overtake Furious 7 as the Asian nation’s top-grossing movie, based on pre-release bookings. That’s no small feat since the latest chapter in the car-themed series was almost 14 per cent bigger at the Chinese box office than in the US and Canada, with US$385 million (S$512 million) so far.
More Chinese Talents and Elements to Appear in Hollywood Films
Dianne Therese Sencil | Apr 28, 2015
- At the Hong Kong International Film and TV Market held in March, prominent film producers from Hollywood and China revealed that more Chinese talents and elements will be involved in future Hollywood films. According to the Hollywood producers, the strategy will further boost the potentiality of the Chinese market, which is now the second-largest film market in the world after the United States.
2015 Milken Institute: Film success in China takes time, experts say
By Richard Verrier APRIL 27, 2015
- China may be the new frontier for Hollywood, but cracking the world’s second-largest film market is a painstaking process that involves years of relationship building, as well as navigating government censors and strict currency regulations. Those were among the vexing challenges cited by a panel of film industry executives Monday at the 2015 Milken Institute Global Conference. China has emerged as the world’s second-largest film market outside the U.S. With ticket sales growing at about 30% a year, China is on track to surpass the size of the U.S. box-office market by 2020.
‘Furious 7’ highest-grossing film ever in China
- The car racing action movie “Furious 7” has officially become the biggest-grossing film ever in China, raking in a haul of two billion yuan (U.S.$323 million) in 15 days. The previous record holder was “Transformers: Age of Extinction,” directed by Michael Bay, which took in 1.98 billion yuan (US$318.9 million) in China. But “Furious 7” clearly shows how great the potential of the Chinese market is as it has rapidly grown into the second-largest film market in the world. “Furious 7” is also the first film ever screened in China to pass the two billion yuan mark. China’s largest movie industry tracking organization, Box Office, also mentioned that the movie’s North American box office gross so far is estimated at US$320 million, though the film’s release date in the United States was one week earlier than in China. It is the second time that a Hollywood blockbuster has earned more money in China than in the U.S. The precedent, again, was “Transformers: Age of Extinction.”
DreamWorks Boss Reveals Co-Production with China for ‘Kung Fu Panda 3’
Dianne Therese Sencil | Apr 25, 2015
- During the 5th Beijing International Film Festival held in China Millennium Monument from April 16-23, American film production company DreamWorks Animation Studios announced its plan to enter into a join venture with Chinese filmmakers and producers for the third franchise of the Chinese-inspired Hollywood blockbuster film “Kung Fu Panda.”
- The film’s production, storyline, animation, special effects and design–which will be done by Chinese and American talents–have also been agreed on by the two parties, Katzenberg added. The love for Chinese culture was the reason behind the film rather than business matters, the DreamWorks CEO said.
Dai Xiang Yu gets a foot in the Hollywood door
By May Seah Published: 4:17 AM, April 25, 2015
- SINGAPORE — Things are starting to pick up for Dai Xiang Yu, whom you may remember as the artiste formerly known as Dai Yang Tian, after a rocky three years since returning to work in his native China. The actor has been cast in the film Lost In The Pacific, a Hollywood-China co-production that stars Brandon Routh (Superman Returns, Arrow), Russell Wong (The Joy Luck Club, Romeo Must Die), Hong Kong’s Bernice Liu and China’s Zhang Yu Qi.
China Supports Hollywood’s Film Industry
Posted by: : Paul EbelingPosted on: April 22, 2015
- From a cameo by Chinese space station Tiangong-1 in Si-Fi blockbuster Gravity to a comedic gang boss in Johnny Depp’s latest comedy Mortdecai, Chinese elements are becoming more common in foreign movies. For many foreign filmmakers, Chinese elements are frequently used to help movies appeal to Chinese audiences and bring in box office earnings in one of the world’s biggest movie markets. In Y 2014, Chinese movie lovers spent more than CHY 30-B at the cinema.
China Film Group Takes Role in Hollywood
Beijing-based company invests in films from Universal Pictures, other U.S. studios
By Ben Fritz And Laurie Burkitt April 19, 2015
- China Film Group Co. is starting to look more like a Hollywood studio. The Beijing-based company is pursuing a new strategy of investing in Hollywood productions that have no connections to China—a surprising and potentially controversial move for a unit of the state-owned entity that determines which foreign movies get into the tightly controlled country and when they are released. China Film joined with Comcast Corp. ’s Universal Pictures to take a nearly 10% stake in the recently released hit “Furious 7,” according to a person with knowledge of the arrangement, and had a small stake in January’s “Seventh Son,” from Legendary Pictures LLC. The deals are China Film’s first investments in American-made movies not shot in China, and come as it looks to sell shares publicly for the first time. Meanwhile, the company faces increased competition from other distributors in the country.
Beijing Int’l Film Festival rolls out the red carpet
Paramount Poised to Make Chinese Fantasy ‘The Monkey King’
April 17, 2015
- Paramount Pictures is in advanced talks to be involved in the production of a new adaptation of Chinese literary fantasy “The Monkey King.” The studio is partnered with a trio of Chinese firms headed by Beijing Ruyi Xinxin Film Investment. The story has been adapted countless times for big- and smallscreen in China. The new version will likely hew closest to a 1980s TV series and include several of the actors from the series, notably Zhang Jinlai (aka ‘Liuxiaolingtong’).
Disney Under Pressure Not To ‘Whitewash’ Mulan
Mike P Williams 12 April 2015
- While the news of a live-action ‘Mulan’ has come as a pleasant surprise to many, there are some who aren’t as optimistic, with an online petition against Disney ‘whitewashing’ the film. The term ‘whitewashing’ refers to the idea whereby productions (Hollywood ones especially) would use white actors to replace ones in the source material that are of another ethnicity. The petition, originating at Care2Petitions, opens with the title ‘Tell Disney You Don’t Want A Whitewashed Mulan!’ and has just over 34,000 votes, with an aim to reach 35,000.
Hayden Christensen to Star in Paramount’s ‘Marco Polo’
April 09, 2015
- Hayden Christensen is making a return to the studio world. The actor, who famously portrayed Anakin Skywalker in the Star Wars prequels, will star in Marco Polo, the co-production between Paramount and China Film Group. Also involved are Chinese firms Yuehua Entertainment and Huahua Film & Media Culture, as well Phoenix Entertainment, who all are co-producing the project. Rob Cohen is directing the feature, which is being positioned as a fantasy-action movie.
‘Need for Speed’ Sequel in Development as U.S.-China Co-Production
by Clifford Coonan 4/8/2015
- A joint venture between China Movie Channel, Jiaflix and 1905.com has teamed with game publisher Electronic Arts to make the film. It will be an official co-production, which means much of the movie will be filmed in China with a significant amount of local talent. The co-production is the latest in a flurry of deals between Hollywood and China, after Bob Simonds’ STX Entertainment pacted with Chinese film company Huayi Brothers and Lionsgate announced a major tie-in with Hunan TV.
China looms as film-making powerhouse
Published: 4:15 AM, April 7, 2015
- “We’re trying to develop Chinese creative talents,” said James Fong, the chief executive of Oriental DreamWorks. It is part of a broader push by China Media Capital into the entertainment business. (The company previously helped develop the Chinese version of The Voice.) Such collaborations offer access to new talent and the chance to better understand a culture that will increasingly be portrayed in its films. And co-production deals provide greater access to China’s tightly regulated market, which in a few years is expected to surpass the United States as the world’s biggest film market. “The centre of gravity is shifting so rapidly from Hollywood to China,” said Rob Cain, a consultant who runs Chinafilmbiz.com. “And it’s not just that the audience is going to come from China; so is the capital.”
Why Walt Disney, IMAX, and DreamWorks Are Working to Win in China
China is leading global box office growth. These three companies aren’t letting the opportunity pass them by.
- The Chinese movie and media industry is exploding, with box office revenues up 3,500% in the last decade. It’s no wonder companies like Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) are making so much revenue there, with plans to plant their characters and products there even further. Here are a few incredible facts to show just how important Chinese media industry growth is.
- Chinese box office revenues have grown 30% per year for the past decade. There are about 14 new movie screens added in China each day. The total number of movie screens in China should surpass that of the U.S. by 2020. The Chinese movie industry is expected to reach $6.5 billion in 2017, double what it was in 2012. By 2017, Chinese box office revenues are expected surpass those of the U.S, and double them by 2025.
China Escalates Hollywood Partnerships, Aiming to Compete One Day
By DAVID BARBOZA APRIL 5, 2015
- SHANGHAI — Tucked away in a quiet design studio in this fast-growing city, a team of young animators, illustrators and computer programmers is bringing an ancient Chinese village to digital life. Using three-dimensional texture painting software, the team — mostly graduates of China’s leading arts schools — is adding intricate details to temples, palaces and pagodas. Team members are also helping animate the movements of the digital characters, including two pandas named Po and Mei Mei.
- No longer content simply to build movie sets and provide extras in Hollywood films, Chinese studios are moving up the value chain, helping to develop, design and produce world-class films and animated features. They want a bigger role in the creative process, one that will allow them to reap more rewards, financially and artistically.
Vin Diesel speaks Chinese, saying “I’m shy”
Michael Bay Launches New Company With Chinese Investment
by Rebecca Ford 4/1/2015
- Michael Bay, teaming with John and Anthony Gentile, the creators of global toy and entertainment brands including Micronauts and Visionaries, has launched a new company that will specialize in developing intellectual property (IP) and transmedia brands. 451 Media Group will be funded through a large investment from China’s animation, toy and entertainment group Guangdong Alpha Animation and Culture Co., Ltd. The new company was co-founded by Bay, the Gentiles and Douglas Nunes, who serves as the company’s chief operating officer.
China’s Huayi Bros. Approves Deal With Robert Simonds’ STX
April 1, 2015
- China’s Huayi Bros. Media has agreed a deal to co-finance at least 18 movies to be produced over a three-year period by Robert Simonds’ STX Entertainment. Huayi, the 20-year-old firm that is China’s largest private-sector film company, announced an outline of the deal in a regulatory filing in mid-March, but did not name its U.S. partner. Variety subsequently broke the news that STX was the intended partner.
- According to a statement Huayi will co-produce and co-finance the films and retain distribution rights through Greater China (usually taken to mean China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau) and Singapore. Significantly, Huayi will have a share of the movies’ worldwide revenues, proportionate to its investment in each.
Hollywood Reporter Inks Content Partnership With China’s Tencent
by THR Staff 3/31/2015
- The partnership will see news, features and videos syndicated on Tencent’s online portal QQ.com for a section entitled “THR on Tencent.” The Hollywood Reporter has entered into a multiyear content deal with Tencent. The partnership will see THR’s news, features and videos syndicated across platforms of the China-based web giant.
China and Hollywood Are Ready to Become Global Partners
March 22, 2015
- “Powerful magnetic forces” have brought Hollywood and the Chinese film industry together. And after a period of testing each other out, the relationship has entered a new paradigm, says U.S. entertainment lawyer Lindsay Conner. “China and the States are starting to become better partners in terms of discussing critical business issues and understanding each other’s needs. It has taken a while for the bridging of cultures and styles,” says Conner, partner and co-chair of the entertainment and media practice at L.A.-based law firm Manatt, Phelps & Phillips. “From now on there will be more Chinese investment in Hollywood and more Hollywood investment in China. These investments will involve finance, distribution and co-production.” The objective is clear from the U.S. side. “China is the newest market on earth and the biggest growth opportunity on Hollywood’s horizon – these days the opportunity spans distribution, financing and online video,” Conner says. The Chinese point of view is more complex. “Hollywood is the heart of the U.S. cultural engine – it has story, production and distribution techniques that Chinese would like to adopt.” And it is interesting for its ability to project soft power and for its profitability.
A dream come true
Saturday, 21 March 2015
- John Cusack fulfilled his long-standing desire of doing some tough action with Jackie Chan in Dragon Blade. The actor talks about Chinese cinema and why it is more exciting than Hollywood
- I thought it was an epic, romantic, smart and beautifully-written historical film that is almost operatic in a way. It was very moving and very emotional. To get to collaborate with Jackie Chan and to work in China in a Chinese-language movie was thrilling. Jackie Chan wants his movies to have messages that he believes in. It’s all in the architecture of the story. In this film, when people fight, they really don’t want to. When they can avoid fighting, they are far happier, and throughout they sacrifice themselves for other people. There are a lot of themes within the story that are powerful and important. But it’s also very entertaining as a film. I think the film is an epic, sweeping slice of Chinese history, telling the history of the Silk Road. But it’s also about the need to build peace. If we can build a city where everyone is welcome and peace is possible; even if it is destroyed, you have to rebuild it. It’s about people’s universal dream for peace. Sometimes empires and other powerful forces may be at war with each other, but that’s never the desire of the people. In their hearts, people want peace and justice.
Netflix To Show Chinese Drama ‘Empresses In The Palace’; Is It Next Step In Entry Into China?
by Ali Jaafar March 20, 2015
- Netflix has acquired popular Chinese drama Empresses In The Palace for its U.S. service, cutting down the original series’ 76 45-minute episodes into six 90-minute episodes. The show, which first aired in China as well as several other Asian countries in 2011, follows the intrigues among the emperor’s concubines in the imperial palace of the Qing Dynasty. Intriguingly, however, the move’s real significance could be in marking a foundation for a major new relationship for the streaming giant with LeTV, one of China’s leading online video platforms with more than 100,000 TV episodes and 5,000 movies.
Lionsgate’s Future Intertwined With China, Says CEO Jon Feltheimer
by Clifford Coonan 3/18/2015
- Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer said Wednesday that a $375 million film-financing deal with Hunan TV came about because the Chinese company was involved in all the right sectors, and he said his studio’s future was closely linked to China. “After a lot of conversations with a lot of people, we felt this was the simplest one that touches all those boxes,” Feltheimer told THR in an interview in Changsha, in China’s Hunan province, after the deal was formally announced. “They’re in film production, distribution, advertising, location-based entertainment business, they are in TV in a major way, they are in the cable business. They stepped up, and we stepped up, and at a certain point we said we were going exclusive.”
“Big Hero 6” tops China’s box office
Source:Xinhua Published: 2015-3-12 19:40:55
- Animated feature “Big Hero 6” led Chinese box office sales in the week ending March 8, earning about 190 million yuan (30.3 million US dollars).
- “The Man from Macao II,” a family comedy starring Chow Yun-Fat, came in at a respectable second, earning 174 million yuan during the week. The film has pulled in more than 889 million yuan since it opened on February 19 in time for China’s Spring Festival holiday, a prime time for moviegoing.
- Adventure film “Wolf Totem” came in fourth in the week, taking in 130 million yuan. Debuting on the same day as “The Man from Macao II,” its total box office earnings stood at about 633.8 million yuan on March 8.
- Rounding out the top five was action movie “Dragon Blade.” The film, which stars Jackie Chan, John Cusack and Adrien Brody, grossed 83 million yuan in the week. Its earnings have exceeded 724 million yuan since Feb. 19.
China’s Huayi Brothers Striking 18-Picture Deal With STX
by Pamela McClintock, Clifford Coonan 3/17/2015 12:50pm PDT
- The leading Chinese film and television company Huayi Brothers is planning to sign an ambitious three-year deal with Bob Simonds’ new STX Entertainment to make 18 films before the end of 2017.
- According to a regulatory statement filed with the Shenzhen Stock Exchange and first reported by The Hollywood Reporter, the Huayi Brothers will co-produce, co-finance and retain distribution rights to the movies in Greater China. Huayi also would take a share of global revenues and profits. It would also mark the first time that a Chinese film company held the copyright to the co-produced films, according to the filing.
- Huayi is run by brothers Wang Zhongjun and Wang Zhonglei, who have been eager to establish a major Hollywood presence. Last year, they were in talks to take a $120 million-$150 million stake in Jeff Robinov’s new film company, Studio 8, but those talks unraveled before China’s Fosun stepped in with a $200 million capital injection.
China fuels record global box-office revenue in 2014
By Richard Verrier MARCH 12, 2015
- Global box-office revenue climbed to $36.4 billion, according to an annual report Wednesday from the Motion Picture Assn. of America. And much of the growth came from one country: China.
- Chinese developers such as Dalian Wanda Group, owner of U.S. theater chain AMC Entertainment, have been building theaters at a breakneck pace across China to accommodate a growing middle-class population with more money to spend on entertainment. Chinese Internet giants such as Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. also are investing in film production.
- China fueled a 12% increase ticket sales throughout Asia Pacific last year. Box-office revenue rose just 2% in Latin America and dropped 3% in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Matt Damon Is Going To China To Film An Epic Movie Involving The Great Wall
By Eric Eisenberg 2 months ago
- The structure of the press release suggests that Matt Damon, Willem Dafoe and Pedro Pascal will be playing the three leads of the movie, but it’s also revealed that some of China’s biggest stars will also be a part of The Great Wall’s ensemble. This list includes Andy Lau (Infernal Affairs, House of Flying Daggers), Jing Tian (New Police Story), Zhang Hanyu (Taking Tiger Mountain), Eddie Peng (Fleet of Time), Lu Han (a member of the Korean pop band EXO), Lin Gengxin (Taking Tiger Mountain), Zheng Kai (Fleet of Time), Chen Xuedong (Tiny Times), Huang Xuan (The Golden Era), Wang Junkai (a member of the pop group TF Boys), and newcomers Yu Xintian and Liu Qiong.
Zhang Yimou’s ‘The Great Wall’ Adds Andy Lau, More Chinese Actors
March 11, 2015 4:34pm PT by Rebecca Ford
- Director Zhang Yimou has rounded out the cast of his upcoming film The Great Wall with several notable Chinese stars. Andy Lau, Jing Tian, Zhang Hanyu, Eddie Peng, Lu Han, Lin Gengxin, Zheng Kai, Chen Xuedong, Huang Xuan and Wang Junkai have all joined the film, which will star Matt Damon, Pedro Pascal and Willem Dafoe.
- The Legendary Entertainment and Atlas Entertainment production will be produced by Thomas Tull, Charles Roven, Jon Jashni and Peter Loehr. Jillian Share, Alex Gartner, Bennett Walsh, La Peikang and Zhang Zhao will executive produce with Er Yong, Alex Hedlund and Eric Hedayat co-producing.
China’s Monthly Box Office Surpasses U.S. For First Time
Jeff Labrecque / Entertainment Weekly March 2, 2015
- Chinese movie theaters grossed $650 million in February, around $10 million more than the U.S.
- The Hollywood Reporter, citing figures from the research firm Entgroup, determined that China grossed $650 million in February, a record monthly haul boosted by that country’s Lunar New Year holiday. The U.S. box office finished with $640 million. Of perhaps greater concern to American studios is the fact that the record Chinese month at the movies occurred mainly without the boost of Hollywood blockbusters. During the Chinese holiday period, their film authorities typically clear the path for their own domestic releases, and that strategy paid off. The top movie in February was The Man From Macau II, starring Chow Yun-fat, which grossed $104 million. Second, with $95 million, was Dragon Blade, starring Jackie Chan, John Cusack, and Adrien Brody. Third was the Chinese-French co-production, Wolf Totem, with $73 million, followed by Zhong Kui: Snow White and the Dark Crystal ($56 million) and the romance, Somewhere Only We Know ($44 million). The final Hobbit film (which opened in January) and Mockingjay were the leading Hollywood blockbusters in China for the month.
DreamWorks Animation CFO Touts Chinese Joint Venture
by Paul Bond 3/4/2015 3:34pm PST
- Merchant called Oriental DreamWorks “incredibly important” and said the studio is in “a blessed place” because of CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg’s strong relationship with China, a country he said Katzenberg visited monthly for the past three years.
Box Office: China Lifts ‘Jupiter Ascending,’ ‘Big Hero 6′ Crosses $600 Million
March 8, 2015 | 01:23PM PT Brent Lang
- Domestically, “Jupiter Ascending” has earned a meager $45 million since opening in February, so it’s possible it could earn more in China than it did in the United States. The bad news for “Jupiter Ascending” is that with a production budget of $176 million plus tens of millions in promotion and advertising costs, the picture still stands to lose money no matter how big a hit it is in China.
- China also helped “Big Hero 6″ capture second place on the foreign charts with $19.6 million. Baymax, the film’s lovable robot character, is a big hit there, and the film has already earned $40.8 million in China. That makes it the second biggest Disney Animations Studios release ever in the country behind “Frozen.” The animated picture crossed $600 million at the global box office this weekend and has now opened in every international market.
‘Door Guardians’ Teaser Shows Off China’s CGI Capabilities
By Amid Amidi on Wednesday March 11, 2015 2:18 am
- If this newly released teaser for Door Guardians makes one thing clear, it’s that Western feature-quality computer animation has arrived in China. In fact, the Beijing-based studio responsible for the film, Light Chaser Animation, has made it its mission to create Western quality animation in China.
- Founded by web entrepreneur Gary Wang, Light Chaser has worked closely with American artists like former Pixar and ILM animator Colin Brady to set up its production pipeline. As we reported last August, the tech-savvy studio used a telepresence robot to allow Brady to work with them from his Los Angeles home.
Little Door Gods – Spring 2015 Trailer
Little Yeyos – 小夜游
Beijing Film Market Teams Up With MPA to Create Film Project Incubator
by Clifford Coonan 2/25/2015 12:35am PST
- The market section of the Beijing International Film Festival has linked up with the Motion Picture Association (MPA) on a series of joint initiatives to help young filmmakers.
- The measures are aimed at boosting filmmaking in China by fast-tracking and pitching projects with help from workshops, pitching opportunities, mentoring and award competitions, the Beijing Festival said in a statement.
- The initiatives include a new MPA Grand Prize created to award the winner of the MPA Film Workshop, which has now has become part of the film project market.
Kerr Xu, China’s answer to Walt Disney, the film boss who hopes make Bunbury an Australian Hollywood
WENDY CACCETTA March 02, 2015 12:00AM
- The son of two of China’s top space engineers, Xu was expected to follow his parents into a similar field. And although he was top of his art class at school, going to art school was considered out of the question.
- Instead, Xu and his parents reached a compromise. In 1986, he went to study commerce and computer science at the People’s University of China in Beijing, where he modestly admits to being one of their best students.
- Four years later with $273 in his pocket he left for the US, got an MBA from Bridgeport University in Connecticut, started a family with his wife and over the next decade carved out a career in the investment world.
- He also fell in love with animation. “I just loved 3D animation,” Xu says. “I was amazed by the library of Walt Disney and the growth of Pixar. That whole transition amazed me.”
- But it was the 3D features such as Toy Story, Pixar’s first theatrical film and widely considered by many critics to be one of the best animated films ever made, that really captured his imagination.
- “In about 2000 I came back to China but I didn’t have the money or guts to start my company immediately,” he says. “I quit my job in the States and came back to China and worked as a financial controller in the business sector for two years. “Finally I was telling my family, ‘I hate the investment business’.”
- Still Xu was determined to bring his animation dream to life. Three years later he founded Hippo with “less than $35,000 — literally nothing”. He taught himself film making from books. He then taught his staff. “I had three people, then I had six people, then nine,” he says.
- Today Xu’s company has 320 full-time staff and a pool of freelancers. It boasts that its animaters can complete six to seven seconds of facial animation a day compared to one to two seconds for most other studios thanks to special technology developed by another of Xu’s companies, SJS Computer Science and Technology.
- In November, Xu scored a coup. The former president of US giant Warner Bros’ international distribution and marketing division, Edward E Frumkes, joined Hippo as president of its international division. Show business bible Variety labelled the move as “potentially transformational” for the Chinese company.
- It’s now been 15 years since Hippo released its first animated feature, Animen, in 2D, and also in a first for a Chinese company, 3D. “It took me seven years to finish that film,” Xu says.
- The outer space galactic adventure grew out of a bed time story Xu used to tell his eldest son, now 19 (he also has a daughter 16 and another son who is two and a half). And while it wasn’t the box office hit Xu might have hoped for, it was a spring board and Hippo began to gather momentum. “The first movie was only released in China,” Xu says. “But (online media provider) Netflix brought it. My third movie was released in more than 10 different countries.” There have been another five titles since including Jungle Master, the story of a little girl who is transported to a magical land and meets an emerging leader who must save the rainforest from an evil scientist.
- Xu says Farm House has gone to about 20 countries, has over 150 million fans and also inspired “a bunch of toys”.
- ScreenWest chief executive Ian Booth, who introduced Xu to both WA and Aussie Rules, describes the Chinese film maker as “visionary”. “When I first met him I thought he’s a lovely guy who speaks excellent English, is incredibly well educated and is looking for opportunities to pursue with the West,” Booth recalls. “His outlook, having spent a lot of time in the US, is international in focus … He’s a fairly dynamic personality and really wants to make things happen. He’s a very charismatic guy who is doing a million things at once. He’s a visionary guy who is really thinking big picture.”
At China box office, local romance bests ‘Hunger Games’
By Julie Makinen FEBRUARY 17 2015
- “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1,” racked up $22.1 million last week at the mainland Chinese box office but was bested for the top spot by the local romance “Somewhere Only We Know.”
Jackie Chan’s ‘Dragon Blade’ rules Chinese box office during holiday
By Julie Makinen FEBRUARY 25 2015
- Left to right, actors Siwon Choi, John Cusak, Jackie Chan and Adrien Brody taste dumplings during an event to promote their new movie “Dragon Blade” in Taipei on Feb. 12. (Chiang Ying-ying / Associated Press)
- The 3-D historical action movie “Dragon Blade” starring Jackie Chan ruled at mainland cinemas over the Chinese New Year holiday, raking in $54.4 million in a record-breaking week for the country’s box office.
- The total haul for the seven days ending Sunday was $216.4 million, a new high mark for any week, according to Rance Pow, head of the film industry consulting firm Artisan Gateway. Year to date, the mainland China box office has pulled in $838.2 million in ticket sales.
Hollywood welcomes more Chinese firms
Cindy LiuChina Daily/Asia News NetworkWednesday, Feb 25, 2015
- Digital Domain, a California-based digital production company backed by investors from Hong Kong, for instance, was nominated for Best Visual Effects at this year’s Academy Awards for its work on one of the highest-grossing films of 2014, X-Men: Days of Future Past.
- The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences also handed two Scientific and Technical Awards to the company for two of its technologies: Mova, a facial performance-capture system, and Drop, a software toolkit for simulating large-scale destruction scenes.
- Hong Kong entertainment company Sun Innovation paid HK$392 million ($68.64 million) in July 2013 to buy the American visual-effects group from Beijing’s Galloping Horse. In 2012, Galloping Horse bought 70 per cent of Digital Domain, while Reliance Media retains 30 per cent.
- Fosun and Huayi Brothers Media Corp competed for the acquisition of Studio 8 and Huayi had announced a planned $150 million investment in the venture. Fosun then raised that to $250 million and successfully closed the deal, making it the largest acquisition involving Chinese capital in Hollywood film industry history.
Berlin: France Setting the Pace On China Co-Productions
by Clifford Coonan 2/8/2015 10:00pm PST
- “Hollywood films in China tend to be more with a little soya sauce on the side, not a full Chinese dish. I understand the studios – they make international films, and can’t make films that just work in two countries,” said Glachant.
- “If you look at the directors involved in the co-productions, like Wang Xiaoshuai, Muyl and Annaud, these are directors that travel and are not afraid of doing films with Chinese actors,” said Glachant. “There is strong interest here in Berlin from Europe in co-producing in China. The most ahead in experience and contact are the French, we have done quite a few. The Chinese are showing us they like the way we do it,” said Glachant.
- Other Sino-French productions at the European Film Market include Europacorp’s 108 Demon Kings, a 3D animated title based on the Chinese classic tale, The Water Margin, and Journey To China, a co-production between Shanghai Qingxi Media and France’s Haut et Court.
- As the Berlin film festival unspooled, Hi-Show Entertainment and Shanghai Media Group officially launched the biggest Sino-French co-production to date, Le Paon de Nuit (which translates as “Peacock of the Night”) in Chengdu in Sichuan province.
- French filmmaker Nicolas Brigaud-Robert told a gathering of industry folks in Beijing in December that co-production was about give and take. “You do have to find compromises on content that are suitable for audiences on both co-producers’ countries. So that’s called co-production. When we say we were not faking it, (it’s because) if you want to make a success, you better sound true, otherwise the audience will not get fooled,” Brigaud-Robert told local media.
- French filmmakers do not have the same issues with meeting the criteria required to gain co-production status “We are used to making films that don’t look French. The need to look Chinese doesn’t bother us,” said Glachant.
Western stars and their Chinese nicknames
China Daily/Asia News NetworkThursday, Feb 12, 2015
- Singer and actress Jennifer Lopez is often referred to as the “Lord of Butt”, or “luo ba”, in Hong Kong and China.
- The nickname for British actor Benedict Cumberbatch is “juan fu”, or “Curly Blessing”.
- Actor Martin Freeman, known for his roles in the Hobbit trilogy and more so for his portrayal of Dr. Watson in Sherlock Holmes, is referred to as “Peanut” in China, or “hua sheng”.
- It is not hard to see why Nicki Minaj’s Chinese fans refer to her as “ma la ji”, or “Numbing Spicy Chicken”.
- In Dockery’s case, since she is the eldest daughter, her “title” in the family is “da xiao jie”, or the “Big Miss.”
- Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Lawrence is nicknamed “Cousin”, or “biao jie”.
- “Lao ban”, or “Boss”, is what fans of the former N’Sync star call him in China.
- The former Titanic actor is referred to as “Little Plum” in China, or “xiao li zi”.
- Country singer Taylor Swift is young, talented and beautiful. It is no wonder she was originally referred to as “The Little Beautiful”, or “xiao mei nu”.
- The term bloom can also refer to a blossoming flower in English. Chinese fans call Orlando Bloom by the direct Chinese translation of his surname, “kai hua”, or blossoming flower.
‘Kung Fu Panda 3’ Gets Co-Production Status in China
by Clifford Coonan 1/23/2015 6:59am PST
- DreamWorks Animation’s Kung Fu Panda 3 has received co-production status in China, which guarantees greater access and a larger revenue share in the world’s second biggest film market, a status that is highly sought after.
- According to the State General Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT) website, Dreamworks Animation, its Chinese unit Oriental Dreamworks and their Chinese partners, which include China Media Capital, Shanghai Media Group and Shanghai Alliance, acquired co-production status for the threequel on Jan. 15.
Hollywood sets out to claim a film foothold in China
Two USC professors explain what it will take for U.S. moviemakers to break into China — the second largest cinematic market in the world
by Michelle Boston February 5, 2015
- Overseen by the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT), China maintains a complicated quota system that allows only 34 foreign films into the country per year. Of those, 14 must be either IMAX or 3-D. Each film permitted to play in Chinese cinemas must also meet a certain set of standards, including casting the country in a positive light when there is a Chinese component.
- In an effort to claim a foothold in China, MGM made an unprecedented move. In post-production, the studio replaced China with North Korea as the foe.
- “It used to be that as much as 50 percent of the total box office for a film would come from the U.S. and Canada, but it’s not the case anymore,” said Rosen, an expert in Chinese politics and the relationship between Hollywood and China. “It’s gone down to 30 or 35 percent. Now, a blockbuster film will make as much as 70 percent of its return outside of North America.” China jumped ahead of Japan as the second-largest film market after North America in 2012. In 2013, China’s box office receipts tallied $3.6 billion — a 27 percent increase over the previous year. Then in 2014 China’s box office sales hit $4.8 billion. Experts estimate that China will overtake North America as the top movie market in the next 10 years
- So how can the U.S. film industry make headway in China? First, filmmakers must consider how SAPPRFT will respond to the movies submitted for approval in China, said Brian Bernards, assistant professor of East Asian languages and cultures.
- “For instance, films cannot include negative images of the Communist Party of China. They also have to limit depictions of corrupt officials or superstitious representations, such as ghosts. There’s also the idea that anyone who is breaking the law should be punished by the end of the film.” However, Bernards noted that are no hard and fast rules. Each film is judged on a case-by-case basis. In some instances, leeway would be granted to Hollywood as long as it was clear to Chinese audiences that corrupt or superstitious practices would never succeed in China or that those outcomes or practices would be deemed undesirable by the majority of audiences.
- Some filmmakers are going one step further and tailoring their content to engage Chinese audiences. There’s no better example than Transformers 4: Age of Extinction (2014), which brought in more than $300 million in China, where it broke all box office records, edging out Avatar as the highest grossing film of all time in that market. Rosen plays a series of scenes that exemplify this for students in his course “Politics and Film in the People’s Republic of China,” including the heavily featured Chinese product placements peppered throughout the film. In one scene, Stanley Tucci’s character takes a drink of Yili, a popular Chinese brand of milk. In another, Mark Wahlberg’s character uses a China Construction Bank ATM — in Texas.
- Some films will also include scenes that only play in the Chinese release of a film, Rosen said. “In Looper, for example, there are longer scenes that take place in modern Shanghai,” Rosen said. The filmmakers also included favorable mentions of China in the narrative. Jeff Daniels’ character tells Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s character to reconsider his decision to retire in France. “I’m from the future,” Daniels says. “You should go to China.”
The American who became a movie star in China’s Hollywood
Jonathan Kos-Read moved from Los Angeles to Beijing, learnt Mandarin and became a film actor with his own television show
Clarissa Sebag-Montefiore January 9, 2015 3:40 pm
- His big break came in 1999 when he spotted an ad for a western actor in an English-language magazine.
- Kos-Read’s latest film — an action-packed zombie movie called Gui Chui Deng (Ghouls) — involved shooting for a month in the wilds of Inner Mongolia.
- Kos-Read has always acted: he attended a high school in Los Angeles that specialised in the arts before switching to study molecular biology at New York University.
- In the early years it was “hard to get a good cinematographer, a good director, a good art director, a good prop guy”. Yet an ever-growing audience has attracted Hollywood, which is eager to ride the great Chinese movie wave (and attract the millions of movie-goers). “Talented people go where the money is. And so Chinese films and movies look better and more polished and more professional.”
- Censorship prevails, however. For this reason, Kos-Read prefers doing web serials which enjoy more free rein and attract a younger, hipper crowd than TV. In a Sex and the City-style web-based show, Lei Nu Xin Jing (The Intimate Diary of Little Miss Lightning), which came out earlier this year, he plays a bisexual fashion designer. Sex scenes are included — something unheard of on tightly controlled state-run TV.
- Harder still is breaking out of the token “white guy” role. In 2005 Kos-Read had a part in a TV series about Chinese police officers who travel to the US. One scene, shot on location in America, featured a black drug dealer played by a well-spoken British actor. Kos-Read remembers the director yelling in Chinese “cut, cut, cut” and saying to Kos-Read: “Tell the actor he needs to be more black!” The director wanted a cartoonish, “ghetto” portrayal of African-American culture.
- This reduction to stereotypes is because scriptwriters rarely come into contact with real foreigners “so they invent a lot of stuff that foreigners do,” says Kos-Read. “The plot . . . hinges on [the character] doing something stupid and ridiculous.”
- That is changing, slowly. Kos-Read remains often a token character but in recent years he has had parts that are more complex. And he insists that he has no plans to leave China.
- “The best thing about working in China as an actor is working,” he says matter-of-factly. “I mean, let’s be realistic. In LA there are 10,000 guys who are just like me. I wanted to be an actor since I was a little kid and I’ve made a good living doing it. And so whenever I’m cold, I’m sad, I’m unhappy with the script or thinking how difficult it is to get paid, I can always say well, you are working doing something you love.” Still, he confesses: “I betray my art every day for a paycheck. There is some of that in any industry. But it gets hard on the soul.”
China’s Film Market Withstands Hollywood Blow, Continues to Expand Overseas
Jan 08, 2015 04:41 AM EST
- The Chinese film market showed incredible performance in 2014 with a 36-percent increase in sales than the previous year. This entails that, despite the penetration of Hollywood films, the country’s domestic film industry is able to compete and remain profitably strong. According to Entgroup, a leading research center in Chinese entertainment industry, China screened 388 films in 2014, earning some 29.6 billion yuan ($4.76 billion). Interestingly, films from North America dropped by 6 percent.
- The report indicates further that the quality of domestic films is improving. Translated in numbers, this shows that 54.5 percent of box-office earnings came from local films.
- China’s influence will continue to penetrate the global box-office market, with many domestic films being shown as well in worldwide screens. Last year, China’s film outputs contributed to a 75-percent increase in the total number of films made worldwide.
China’s LeTV Chief Expects Revenues to More Than Double in 2015
by Clifford Coonan 1/5/2015 10:42pm PST
- China’s leading private entertainment company, LeTV, is targeting $3.7 billion in revenues in 2015 and said rumors about the company’s links to a government corruption investigation had only made it stronger.
- As well as the third outing for The Expendables, in 2014 LeVision also produced the Zhang Yimou movie Coming Home. It has a stake in the wildly successful Tiny Times franchise and is also involved in John Woo’s recently released epic, The Crossing.
China’s Alibaba Pictures’ First Movie to Team Wong Kar-Wai and Tony Leung
by Clifford Coonan 1/11/2015 2:37am PST
- Top Hong Kong director Wong Kar-wai will produce the debut movie of Alibaba Pictures, the film unit of e-commerce giant Alibaba. The movie will be written and directed by Zhang Jiajia, who is hugely popular with young readers, and will feature actor Tony Leung. The movie was launched at an event in Beijing in the 751 art district of the capital. The title Bai Du Ren roughly translates as ‘Ferrymen’ and is based on a short story by Zhang, who said it was about people helping others with difficulties “get to the other side.”
- Alibaba Pictures also has acquired the adaptation rights for My Fair Princess and the overseas distribution rights for Wolf Totem. As well as Wong, the group has signed cooperation agreements with well-known directors such as Peter Chan and Steven Chow to acquire priority rights to invest in their future projects.
- Zhang Qiang, CEO and executive director of Alibaba Pictures, said the company would leverage the Alibaba group’s cloud computing and big-data technologies to tap customer demand and create a comprehensive ecosystem for its film and television production and marketing businesses. Zhang said the goal of Alibaba Pictures was to provide high-quality content to Chinese audiences, and the top talent involved in this product was a signal of the company’s commitment to well-crafted projects.
China Animation’s Shanghai theme park rides Chinese cultural wave
Shenzhen-based animation firm joins the fray against giants Disney and DreamWorks as it launches indoor amusement park in Shanghai
Daniel Ren PUBLISHED : Monday, 12 January, 2015, 4:00am
- The Shanghai Joypolis, located at the city shopping centre Shanghai Global Harbour with a total investment of 176 million yuan (HK$220 million), will take on Disney’s 30 billion yuan amusement park expected to open near the Pudong airport later this year and DreamWorks’ theme park Dream Centre that cost 20 billion yuan on the eastern bank of Huangpu River.
- The central government either doles out funds to support domestic animation firms or rolls out incentives such as granting them time slots on state-owned television channels to broadcast or promote the country’s television dramas or films at a time when US movies such as Kung Fu Panda attracted millions of Chinese fans.
- Its cartoon characters Violet and Han Ba Gui are increasingly gaining popularity across the country. Zhuang said the company would organise concerts, produce movies and dramas, and make products based on the characters to further explore the market.
China 2014 in Review: Hollywood Strikes Deals, Alibaba Goes Public
by Clifford Coonan 12/26/2014 7:00am PST
- Chinese online video players including Tencent, Alibaba, Youku Tudou, Baidu’s iQiyi and online video firm Sohu.com, splashed more and more cash in 2014 on Hollywood content. One of the biggest deals of the year was between HBO and Tencent. It was designed to make HBO TV shows and movies available on a broad basis in China for the first time. Meanwhile, Alibaba struck a deal with Lionsgate to bring the Twilight saga and other films to China, while The Simpsons made their way over the Great Wall for the first time via a Fox deal with Sohu.
- Michael Bay’s robot tentpole did around $320 million worth of box office in China, a new record for a film in the country. The Paramount movie did much to ensure success in China, shooting scenes in Beijing, Hong Kong and elsewhere and lining up a cast of Chinese stars, including Li Bingbing. It included propaganda messages about the Chinese government, and even featured stars drinking Chinese Red Bull in the middle of the desert in America. The film crossed over and became a pop cultural phenomenon in China, with toys, clothing, food and drink all clamoring to be associated with Optimus Prime and his merry band of mechanoids. One of the most peculiar stories to emerge in the country in 2014 was a group of Chinese farmers who had given up their day jobs to build giant Transformers of their own.
- Former Warner Bros. top executive Jeff Robinov’s Studio 8 signed the most eye-catching deal of 2014 in China when it secured around $200 million from Chinese conglomerate Fosun and a further $50 million from Sony, which has a five-year deal to release its movies and has signed up to distribute up to six films worldwide annually. The Fosun money is believed to be the largest Chinese investment to date in U.S. film production. In November, The Walt Disney Co. and Shanghai Media Group agreed to expand their existing partnership to include the co-production of films and the development of TV shows. Meanwhile, Jeff Shell, chairman of Universal Filmed Entertainment, said China was more exciting a market than it was a difficult one as he officially launched NBCUniversal’s Beijing office, which will be run by veteran Hollywood studio executive Jo Yan. The company also is building a multibillion-dollar Universal theme park in the suburbs of Beijing. Brett Ratner, who directed the Jackie Chan-Chris Tucker Rush Hour films, signed deals to work on projects for Chinese movie screens, TV sets and stages, including an investment fund formed with Warner Bros. Entertainment, advertising and marketing firm WPP, Chinese entertainment and investment firm CMC Capital Partners, and local media company Shanghai Media Group.
- Alibaba sent Harvard-educated former talk-show host Zhang Wei to Los Angeles to open an office, while real estate giant Wanda, which owns AMC Entertainment, forked out $1.2 billion for the Robinsons-May department store site at 9900 Wilshire Blvd. in Beverly Hills for the headquarters of its U.S. entertainment business. Wanda chief Wang Jianlin said his aim was “to make China’s Wanda a world-known brand like Walmart, IBM and Google.” And LeVision Pictures said it would coordinate its assault on the U.S. market with an office in L.A. and kicked off its Hollywood campaign with a $200 million film fund to make blockbusters.
- Studios noticed how Chinese audiences reward those stars who make the effort to come to China to promote a movie with serious box-office revenue, so a raft of big names came to China during the year to promote their films. In a flurry of hugs, tales of tattoos and surreal quips to promote the sci-fi thriller Transcendence, Johnny Depp made his first trip to China. Hugh Jackman and Peter Dinklage went to China for X-Men: Days of Future Past, while Andrew Garfield, Jamie Foxx and Emma Stone went for The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson and Samuel L Jackson traveled to Beijing to promote Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and Angelina Jolie was in Shanghai for Maleficent. Meanwhile, Megan Fox braved pollution for a promotional visit to the Chinese capital for the launch of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, with William Fichtner, producers Brad Fuller and Andrew Form, and Paramount vice chairman Rob Moore.
2014: The year China took a big bite out of Hollywood
Heesun Wee | @heesunwee Tuesday, 30 Dec 2014 | 1:15 PM ET
- The year saw more Chinese money flowing into American entertainment. Chinese investment in U.S. entertainment, including film, has grown to around $2.7 billion from 2000 to the second quarter of this year, according to the Rhodium Group, which tracks Chinese direct investment in the U.S. The second half of 2014 also saw a pickup in Chinese film and media companies opening U.S. shops.
- The U.S. film industry for years has been pre-selling movies in foreign markets, including Asia, to help bankroll domestic production. Now in a twist on changing box-office dynamics, what North Americans like to see in theaters is no longer the only deciding factor. More locally produced films in Asia, for example, are outpacing foreign imports.
- For example, 2014 was an important year for movie industry ties between China and South Korea. In July this year, the two countries’ culture ministries signed a pact that will treat co-productions of films as local titles, according The Hollywood Reporter.
China’s box office sales surge 36 pct in 2014
( Xinhua ) Updated: 2015-01-02 15:15:59
- China’s box office sales totaled 29.6 billion yuan (about 4.84 billion U.S. dollars) in 2014, up 36 percent year on year, the country’s film bureau said on Thursday. Domestic films raked in more than 16.15 billion yuan, accounting for 54.5 percent of last year’s box office revenues in the Chinese mainland, said Zhang Hongsen, head of the film bureau under the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television.
- Facing pressures from Hollywood, Chinese films still gained major market share and were welcomed by audiences, he said, citing “The Taking of Tiger Mountain,” “Coming Home” and “Dearest” as outstanding domestic films. A total of 618 Chinese films were produced in 2014, while 638 were made in 2013.
- Earnings of 66 films surpassed the 100-million benchmark last year, including 36 domestic productions. In 2013, 60 films surpassed that figure. China gained 1,015 cinemas and 5,397 screens last year, bringing the total number of screens to 23,600. “On average, 15 more screens were added each day,” Zhang said. Chinese films grossed 1.87 billion yuan overseas, up 32 percent, the official said.
Chinese sci-fi flicks have yet to set sail
Updated: 2014-12-16 07:57 By Wang Yiqing(China Daily)
- The Chinese film industry has entered a new era, producing some good movies and earning substantial box office returns. It’s not uncommon to see a blockbuster earn more than 100 million yuan ($16.16 million) nowadays. Since the film industry has never been more successful on the commercial front, film financers may not be averse to investing in sci-fi films, because they could turn into blockbusters.
- But despite the popularity of science fiction writings and movies in China, as well as film financers’ willingness to invest in sci-fi movies, the development of the genre faces many obstacles.
- As a genre, Chinese sci-fi movies are still in the nascent stage. If you ask even science fiction writers who have been enamored by sci-fi movies since childhood to name Chinese films in this genre, they cannot come up with good examples. Hao Jingfang, a new generation science fiction writer, says very few Chinese sci-fi movies are worth mentioning. After all, “people watch sci-fi movies more because of their popularity than their imaginative elements,” she says.
- Fei Dao, another young science fiction writer, corroborates Chen, saying it’s not difficult to find financers for sci-fi movies in China, nor is technology an obstacle. “As far as I know some Chinese digital studios have earned contracts for special effects of many foreign blockbusters … (so) the main challenge is how script and screenplay writers and directors will handle a sci-fi story.”
China’s LeVision Pictures Picks Up Epic Fantasy Adventure ‘8 Immortals’ (Exclusive)
by Clifford Coonan 12/9/2014 5:58pm PST
- China’s LeVision Pictures has picked up its first U.S. project, an epic fantasy adventure titled 8 Immortals inspired by Chinese mythology from the writer Jeremy Breslau, the first in its plan to make China-Hollywood blockbuster co-productions.
- The movie will be the starting point of what LeVision described as “an expansive development slate” that will utilize top-flight talent from Hollywood and China to create $100 million-plus tentpoles for the global marketplace. 8 Immortals taps into the tradition of ancient Chinese legends and centers on a teen boy in Beijing who discovers that an incredible destiny awaits him.
- LeVision Pictures is currently collaborating with Legendary East on the $135 million Great Wall, directed by Zhang Yimou, which is being seen as a template for co-productions between Hollywood and China.
‘Dragon Blade’ Trailer: Jackie Chan, John Cusack and Adrien Brody Transported to 3rd Century China
By Jethro Nededog on December 27, 2014
- The record-breaking $65 million historical epic is set for Chinese release only on February 15, 2015
- Written and directed by Daniel Lee (“14 Blade,” “Three Kingdoms: Resurrection of the Dragon”), “Dragon Blade” was filmed on a $65 million budget, a record-breaking sum for a Chinese film.
Chinese Actress Jing Tian Wins Hollywood International Award
2014-11-16 12:39:57 CRIENGLISH.com Web Editor: Yangyang
- Chinese actress Jing Tian was received a Hollywood International award. She played the main role in recent global blockbusters like The Warring State, Police Story 2013 and Special ID.
- Jing Tian during the 18th annual Hollywood Film Awards, hosted by Queen Latifah at the Hollywood Palladium in Hollywood, California on Friday, November 14, 2014. Photo: Imagine China
China’s Baidu: Hollywood Ambitions For iQiyi Unit Well-Funded, Says Chief
by Clifford Coonan 11/18/2014 10:00pm PDT
- iQiyi, the online video unit of China’s search giant Baidu, believes the $300 million partnership with smartphone maker Xiaomi will be a major boost to its ambitions in the film and TV business, including expanding relations with Hollywood.
- iQiyi has only been in the business since July, but since then it has announced that it plans to make seven local films and one Hollywood- style film next year, and buy distribution rights to over 1,000 U.S. movie titles next year.
- “Xiaomi came to us. Baidu has been our main stakeholder for a long time and we didn’t have that much need, but we had a conversation over the last four months and decided it would be good for both sides,” said Yu.
- “Our strategy is to focus on movies with a Chinese archetype, that Chinese people want to watch. We are not interested in movies that won’t have a market here. Secondly, we will invest only a small amount, 10 to 15 percent of total production. And we also need to get online rights and online distribution rights, as well as e-commerce rights for commercial products related to the movies,” said Gong.
HBO Signs Deal With Tencent of China
By REUTERSNOV. 25, 2014
- BEIJING — The Chinese Internet company Tencent Holdings said Tuesday that it had made a deal with Time Warner’s HBO network to stream HBO television shows, which are known for their provocative content and may draw scrutiny from the country’s authorities.
- “This partnership enables us to distribute some of the most groundbreaking programming in the world through our robust technology platform, to the benefit of Chinese Internet users,” Martin Lau, the president of Tencent, said in a statement.
- Tencent’s competitors include Sohu.com; Youku Tudou, which is backed by the e-commerce titan Alibaba and the smartphone maker Xiaomi; and iQiyi, which is affiliated with the search giant Baidu and also part-owned by Xiaomi.
Hollywood Bows to Chinese Censors, Courts Investors
By Anousha Sakoui Dec 2, 2014 4:38 PM ET
- In the latest sign of the growing mutual interest, Dalian Wanda Group Co. said yesterday it’s in talks to acquire a stake in Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. (LGF), maker of “The Hunger Games” films. Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. (BABA) Chairman Jack Ma toured Hollywood in October seeking alliances, while Shanghai-based Fosun International Ltd. (656) invested in Jeff Robinov’s Studio 8, which is making films for Sony Corp. (6758)
- “Every mainstream studio is keenly aware of not offending the Chinese market, because it’s become such an important revenue stream,” said Tom Nunan, a visiting professor at the University of California at Los Angeles School of Theater, Film and Television.
- The expansion of entertainment companies like Wanda fits into President Xi Jinping’s push to increase China’s “soft power” by promoting homegrown content and the Chinese language. “He has really put forward a new vision for China’s place in the world,” said Robert Cain, president of Pacific Bridge Pictures and an entertainment industry consultant.
- To appease Chinese censors, and sometimes cater to local tastes, studios are making changes. Disney, based in Burbank, California, offered a separate version of 2013’s “Iron Man 3” with Chinese actors and bonus footage. It totaled $121.2 million in ticket sales in the market.
Exploring new partnerships between China & Hollywood
2014-11-08 14:53 CNTV Web Editor: Mo Hong’e
- One particular panel focused primarily on the process of making US-China crossover films. Fittingly titled “Transformers and Beyond,” panelists included Wei Han, the President of Bliss Media and Dede Nickerson, from Sony Pictures Entertainment in China. They shared their thoughts about the future of making films together and what the creative journey might entail.
- “I’m looking for very international movies that has Chinese elements, hopefully; if not, our appetite is very global. So we’re looking to a much more global approach that we can combine the two markets and have the distribution in China and the US and it’s a great business model, but we’ve got to find the right content,” Wei Han, president of Bliss Media, said.
- “I think the cross-border collaboration is the future because the most important thing for people to work together is to communicate. And we got the best people in entertainment from both China and America and they can exchange their experiences in production,” Attendee Jiaoying Liang said.
THX Cinema Tech Company Partners With Cameron Pace Group on China Studio
by Clifford Coonan 11/7/2014 7:49pm PDT
- THX, the cinema tech company co-founded by George Lucas, has partnered with James Cameron’s Cameron Pace Group to carry out sound certification on its China studio in the port city of Tianjin.
- THX opened offices in Beijing in August, and signed a strategic partnership with the equipment unit of the state-owned China Film Group to provide THX design Cinema Certification programs, and the first THX-certified China Giant Screen (CGS) auditorium will open in a couple of weeks in Shanghai, followed by a project in Suzhou in eastern China.
China’s iQiyi to Buy 1,000 Hollywood Titles in 2015 to Meet Surging Demand
by Clifford Coonan 11/11/2014 10:24pm PDT
- iQiyi, the film unit of Chinese search giant Baidu, will have distribution rights to over 1,000 U.S. movie titles next year to meet swelling demand from its users for Hollywood content. The group has already revealed plans to make seven local films and one Hollywood-style film next year.
- Baidu is one of numerous Chinese tech firms that are emerging internationally as possible studio buyers, content acquirers and distribution outlets for Hollywood fare in the world’s second-biggest film market.
- Baidu is, alongside Alibaba and Tencent, one of the three big firms known as “BAT,” which are revving up for major moves in the China market.
- iQiyi has been making some significant moves in the movie business of late. Over one million users took part in iQiyi’s crowdfunding program for The Golden Era, the recently released film by Ann Hui, raising nearly $3 million in three minutes.
- iQiyi also signed deals for 90 movies at Korea’s Busan film festival last month.
China Box Office to Top $4.9 Billion in 2014, Says Industry Body
by Abid Rahman 11/2/2014 11:27pm PDT
- The Chinese box office is expected to hit $4.9 billion (30 billion yuan) in 2014, according to the Chinese Film Producer’s Association (CFPA), reported state news agency Xinhua on Monday.
- The CFPA’s vice president Wang Fenglin told an film industry expo in Wuhan that China’s box office had reached $3.59 billion (22 billion yuan) for the January-to-September period, topping the $3.55 billion (21.8 billion) for the same period last year.
- Wang also said that domestic films accounted for 51.4 percent of the market while imported films were 48.6 percent and that a total of 230 films were shown in mainstream cinemas in the first nine months of 2014.
More Chinese Sci-fi Films in Production, Awaiting Release This Spring
By Camille Arcilla On November 5, 2014
- Film critic Yan Peng, who is also the planning supervisor of Beijing Galloping Horse Film & TV Production Co., said that movie houses have started working on sci-fi projects with huge financial budgets. There is at least one film that invested over a hundred million yuan ($16 million), he revealed.
- One of the much-awaited sci-fi films is the adaptation of Chinese fiction writer Liu Cixin’s bestselling saga, “The Three-Body Problem.”
- Further, writer-turned-director Han Han disclosed plans for a sci-fi fil project after his successful directing debut with “Continent.”
- “Eyes of Mars” executive producer Lu Bingshu said that film production is indeed a laborious task, but all their efforts will be worthy contributions in developing the genre. Though many sci-fi projects are in the process, Chinese filmmakers fret that viewers may not fully accept the shift in genre.
Alibaba’s Jack Ma: Who Got Face Time (and Who Didn’t) in Hollywood
by Kim Masters Nov. 5, 10:56 a.m
- It was quiet the eclectic group that gathered at Toscana in Brentwood on Oct. 29 at the invitation of Chinese giant Alibaba for what one guest called “a nice, low-key” dinner. Mel Gibson joined TriStar’s Tom Rothman, manager Rick Nicita and his wife, Paula Wagner. CAA agents Spencer Baumgarten and Beijing-based Jonah Greenberg, who runs CAA’s China operations, were there. Imagine’s Ron Howard and Brian Grazer stopped by for a drink. (Arnold Schwarzenegger was invited but did not attend.)
- By then, Jack Ma, Alibaba’s founder, had departed Los Angeles to the disappointment of those who had hoped to meet China’s richest man. But many were happy to be included in any aspect of the company’s tantalizing get-to-know-you tour of Hollywood. Zhang Qiang, CEO of Alibaba Pictures, and Zhang Wei, senior vice president of the Alibaba group, whom sources say is moving to L.A. to open offices, led the remaining delegation.
- Although Bloomberg had reported that Ma, 50, would meet with an array of studio heads from Disney, Warner Bros., Fox, Sony and Paramount, it didn’t quite work out that way. Alibaba didn’t venture to Disney. Ma and his team met with Sony leaders Michael Lynton, Amy Pascal and Doug Belgrad, as well as Paramount’s Brad Grey and execs from Lionsgate. Warners CEO Kevin Tsujihara got a chance to talk with Ma on the phone. But then Ma left Oct. 29 for a meeting with staff in Northern California before returning to China, and while a spokesperson says his midweek departure was planned, it came as news to several executives and filmmakers who had expected to spend time with him. Execs at Universal, Fox and Relativity had meetings with the Alibaba team after Ma left.
- 1 LeTV, a Beijing video portal and parent of Expendables 3 co-backer Le Vision Pictures, has launched a $200 million fund for movies.
- 2 China Lion, founded in 2010 by producer Jiang Yanming, releases top Asian films (Breakup Buddies) in North America.
- 3 Wanda, whose chairman Wang Jianlin is China’s second richest man, bought the prime site in August.
- 4 The U.S. unit of China’s National Film Capital plans to invest $300 million in 10 English-language films.
- 5 China Movie Media Group, a spinoff of China Film Group, handled Chinese marketing on Transformers 4.
- 6 State-owned China Film Group is now run by CEO La Peikang, perhaps the most influential man in China film.
- 7 DMG Entertainment is a major player in Beijing, co-producing Iron Man 3 and Transcendence.
Morgan Freeman is in China! And he’s playing golf with Yao Ming
By Katie Nelson in News on Oct 25, 2014 3:00 PM
- Morgan Freeman and Yao Ming were among the scores of famous faces to grace the Mission Hills World Celebrity Pro-Am golf tournament in Haikou, Hainan yesterday.
- Other celebrities appearances included Taiwanese artist Jay Chou, Hong Kong actor Eric Tsang as well as Hollywood stars Chris Evans, Jessica Alba and Nicole Kidman, whose hair color at the event became the subject of a lengthy Daily Mail article.
Alibaba’s Jack Ma says China needs more Hollywood heroes
By Andrea Chang OCT 28 2014
- During a question-and-answer session at the D tech conference in Laguna Beach on Monday night, Ma said he’s enamored with Hollywood heroes and wants to bring those storylines back to China. He said it bothered him that Chinese movies often kill off the good guy, and that he worried about what that message means for viewers, particularly Chinese youth.
- “American movies — all the heroes … they’re great heroes and all the heroes are alive,” he said. “But in China, heroes must die. And if the heroes die, no one wants to be the heroes. I’ve never seen a movie in China that the hero survived.” Ma noted that many young people in China feel “hopeless,” and said society should do what it can to encourage optimism. “All the societies should make the heroes survive,” he said.
- During the 40-minute Q&A session, Ma also revealed that he met with Kobe Bryant on Monday and said the two discussed the movie “The Bodyguard.” “I said I learned a lot of things from movies,” he recalled of his conversation with the Lakers star. “I learned how to make a speech from the movie called ‘The Bodyguard’ — Whitney Houston. When she sings the songs I look at her and say, ‘Wow, that is the way you make a speech.'”
Old Chinese pain therapy is very popular in Hollywood
Updated: Tue 6:48 PM, Oct 28, 2014
- SOUTH BEND, Ind.— It’s been around for thousands of years, but you’ve probably never heard of this ancient Chinese pain and beauty treatment. Hollywood sure has however, and actresses Jennifer Aniston, Gwyneth Paltrow and singer Lady Gaga all swear by it. The therapy known as “cupping” is one Hollywood trend that practitioners believe could benefit you too!
Universal Studios’ planned Beijing park boosts associates’ stocks
Staff Reporter 2014-11-02
- Fellow theme park operator Walt Disney Company initiated its development of a US$4.4 billion theme park in Shanghai in 2009. Stocks associated with the Walt Disney theme park, including those of Shanghai Jielong Industry Group, which provides authorized packaging and color printing for Disney, have been popular in the Chinese market.
- Universal Studios said it also aims to draw visitors from outside of China. In 2013 alone, 250 million tourists visited the capital, bringing in US$64.7 billion of tourist revenue.
- DreamWorks Animation is also set to launch a theme park in Shanghai, which is scheduled to open in 2016.
Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson Is Honored to Be Premiering ‘Hercules’ in China
Fri, 17 October 2014 at 4:20 am
- “Every year only 34 movies are allowed into CHINA – the biggest film market in the world outside of the US. Truly an honor to be here and give back the love I’ve received from this amazing country over the years. #BEIJING #BeautifulCulture #ProudCulture #HERCULESWorldTour,” The Rock tweeted.
Hollywood Takes an Interest in China’s ‘Loser Boy’ Web Shows
Oct 16, 2014
- Hollywood’s Dreamworks Animation is in talks with a Beijing-based production company to produce a slate of original online content based on “Surprise,” an Internet-driven TV show has been viewed more than 1.3 billion times since it went online last year, according to people familiar with the matter.
- Unimedia is expected to be in charge of the content creation, while Dreamworks would provide special effects and animation skills. The channel is expected to launch on a major domestic video streaming site and will include daily and weekly programs — from animated videos to talk shows – based on the original Web series.
- DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg said recently that the studio’s plans and ambitions for China are “as big as the country.” “We aim to produce original Chinese content here with immense support from our parent company in America,” an Oriental Dreamworks spokeswoman said. “One expects to see an increasing number of deals of this kind in the next two years.”
China Box Office: Stellar Showing by ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’
by Clifford Coonan 10/20/2014 10:37pm PDT
- Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy firmed up its stellar position atop the world’s second biggest film market in its first full week, taking $37.97 million to bring its 10-day cume to $69.04 million.
- The Disney movie, which is only screening in 3D in China, took $30.07 million in the week to Oct. 19, according to the research body Entgroup, with 249,770 screenings and 6.03 million admissions.
Hollywood’s China Syndrome
By: Robert W. Welkos Wed, Oct 22 2014
- Then there is the new studio taking shape backed by billionaire Gigi Pritzker, producer Robert Simonds, private equity firm TPG Growth and China’s Hony Capital with plans to spend $1 billion over the next five years to produce and self-distribute eight to 10 star-driven films every year.
- And, billionaire Ryan Kavanaugh’s Relativity Media (Fast and Furious 6, Bridesmaids), announced this month that it had struck a deal with China’s 3C Media to jointly produce up to four local-language movies based on Relativity intellectual property annually as well as at least two local-language Chinese TV shows,” according to the Hollywood Reporter.
- In July, Britain’s Guardian newspaper reported that China is opening 10 new cinema screens every day and with 18,200 screens at the end of last year, compared with 40,000 in the U.S., noting, “If China had the same number of screens per capita as the U.S. it would have 133,000.”
- The Motion Picture Association of America found that Chinese box office grew by 27 percent in U.S. dollars to $3.6 billion last year becoming the first international market to exceed $3 billion in box office revenue. By comparison, the U.S. and Canada totaled $10.9 billion, up only 1 percent from 2012.
- This summer, Paramount’s Transformers: Age of Extinction grossed $301 million in China with an opening weekend of $92 million, according to box office tracker Box Office Mojo.
- With China, he said, Hollywood gets “fooled by the old argument that China has a billion-and-a-half people and that it’s an underdeveloped market. Excuse me, but the Chinese government limits the number of American films to 34 (per year).” Vogel also points out that the U.S. film industry is only permitted to take 25 percent of the profits from the Chinese box office.
- As proof that American studios must toe the line when releasing their films in China, the British newspaper The Independent reported in July that Paramount Pictures “altered its zombie epic World War Z, removing a potentially disparaging reference to China to please the country’s sensitive censors. Chinese villains were edited out of (Disney’s) Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End and (Columbia’s) Men in Black 3, while (James) Cameron cut shots of Kate Winslet’s breasts from the 3D version of (20th Century Fox’s) Titanic for its Chinese release,” the newspaper reported.
Total dominance: Alibaba leads China into multibillion-dollar Hollywood takeover
October 3, 2014 11:09 AM MST
- Chairman of Alibaba, Jack Ma, launched Alibaba Pictures in June, with the purchase of ChinaVision Media Group in Hong Kong for $804 million. He appointed Zhang Qiang, second in command at the China Film Group, to head the new studio. According to Jack Ma, he does not intend to stay in the domestic market.
- Ma’s intentions are becoming clearer with the purchase of half a Chinese soccer club earlier this year. He claims, “We’re not investing in football, we’re investing in entertainment. Alibaba’s future strategies are health and entertainment.” Both are and have been thriving industries for centuries. With China taking lead and attempting to revamp the arenas of health and entertainment, these two industries are in for a riveting upgrade.
- Beijing-based analyst Li Chengdong states, “This is a win-win situation for Hollywood studios and Chinese tech companies like Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent. BAT will be able to help [Hollywood] understand the [Chinese] market better and come up with a better strategy to promote movies.”
World’s biggest Disney castle to open next year in Shanghai
China Approves $3.25 Billion Universal Theme Park in Beijing
by Clifford Coonan 10/13/2014 1:15am PDT
- The Chinese government on Monday formally approved a $3.25 billion Universal Studios movie theme park, Universal Beijing, to be built in the suburbs of the capital in tandem with state investors.
- Universal joins Walt Disney and DreamWorks Animation in building vast entertainment parks in the Chinese mainland to tap the country’s expanding middle class and burgeoning love affair with movies. The theme park will incorporate strong Chinese elements and pay “proper homage to culture in China,” said Tom Williams, chairman and CEO of Universal Parks & Resorts.
- Universal Beijing will be the company’s third facility in Asia after Singapore and Osaka. Universal also has theme park locations in Orlando, Fla., and Hollywood. “Thirteen years have witnessed a great improvement of people’s life in China,” said Duan. “Annually there are 250 million people traveling to Beijing. This huge market gives us confidence in the project. We celebrate it.”
Mipcom: Sohu’s Charles Zhang Says ‘The Future Is Bright’ in China
- CANNES — Charles Zhang, chairman and CEO of leading Chinese Internet firm, Sohu.com, spoke about Chinese audiences’ appetite for international programs, the surge in paid content and the decline in piracy during his keynote address on Tuesday at Mipcom.
- In spite of its “policies and regulations (…) the overall situation is very positive in China,” argued Zhang. “With the explosion of paid content the future is bright. For the younger generation, the world is very flat and they really enjoy quality international content so the 700 Internet users are really eager to see great content worldwide.”
- Zhang said Sohu’s offer was driven primarily by locally produced content. “We probably have 80% of domestic content – leading with TV dramas – and 20% of international content,” explained Zhang, who also pointed out that in April, a new regulation will cap foreign content at 30%.
China’s Wanda to Create Movie Fund to Attract Hollywood Productions
by Abid Rahman 10/7/2014 11:18pm PDT
- China’s Dalian Wanda Group Corp. is planning to establish a $163 million (1 billion yuan) annual fund to attract movie producers for its yet-to-be-completed mega studio project Oriental Movie Metropolis the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.
- The Oriental Movie Metropolis has been dubbed the ‘Chinese Hollywood’ for its ambitious scope and the plans for it to be a center for TV and film production in China. Located in coastal city of Qingdao, Oriental Movie Metropolis was announced with much fanfare last year as Hollywood A-listers Leonardo Di Caprio, Catherine Zeta Jones and Nicole Kidman attend the ground-breaking ceremony. Movie execs such as Sony serior vp Ralph Alexander and then international division president of Universal Pictures David Kosse were also in attendance at the ceremony.
Chinese & Chinese-Americans in Hollywood share their stories
CCTV.com 10-09-2014 00:45 BJT
- Actress Lisa Lu
- Actress Lisa Lu at young age
- Actress Chloe Bennet
- Actor Jackie Chan
- Chinese and Chinese-American actors who aspired to a career in Hollywood found their opportunities limited to roles that propagated Asian stereotypes. 87-year-old Lisa Lu revealed there’s been gradual changes in Hollywood. “When I first came in the 50’s, the late 50’s, there were no roles for Asian people. I used to tell them Chinese don’t act this way – Chinese act this way, but no one pays me any attention. Now I think they respect Chinese people especially the actors and actresses are so well trained and the directors are so knowledgeable,” said Lisa Lu, an actress.
- Another actress, who didn’t have to fight the ugly stereotypes of yesterday’s Hollywood, Chloe Bennet star of Marvels Agents of SHIELD, has benefited from pioneers like Lisa Lu. “What I appreciate about them and their casting process is they had these characters and it wasn ’t about race and it really wasn’t about what the person looked like. It was really about who the person was as a character and if they fit the mold to the character no matter what ethnicity and that how me and Ming-na, two Chinese-American women, ended up as two leads on a show which I don’t think has ever been done before,” said Chloe Bennet, an actress.
- From on-camera talents to behind the camera, American story telling often portray the Chinese as exotic and devious characters reflecting the entertainment industry’s inherent racial prejudices as well as its fascination with the Far East. Comedy writer Jessica Gao, who immigrated from China, feels it is her duty to watch for any stereotypes whenever there is a Chinese character in a script.
- “Hi, Jessica, thank you so much for joining us today. Now how did your Chinese heritage influenced you in being able to shape those stories out here? How has it helped you,” asked Sanyee Yuan, the reporter. “For all the projects I have worked on, whether it’s Star Wars Detours or Robot Chicken or anything, for me it’s just about that being Chinese makes me very protective anytime on any show there’s any sort of Asian character because I don’t want the character to fall into a stereotype or some sort of cliché. I don’t want them to make any type of cheap jokes at my cultural expense. You know,” said Gao.
- Working behind the scenes, stunt director Andy Cheng came to Hollywood with Jackie Chan; and for him, making it in Hollywood as a Chinese Kung Fu master has been about working with mutual respect.
- “They learn from us, you know? Like wireworks and how we do fighting. (They learned) the tempo, the timing, the rhythm. What I learned (from them) to bring back to China is what I was learning from them, like they ask me “why you do this”, “why you wire it”, “why that guy is flying? ” So they will question me a lot. And I have to find a reason, a logic and storytelling to tell them for them to understand how to do that,” said Andy Cheng, a stunt director.
- Learning from different cultures, Chinese faces are now able to tell their stories – adding Chinese elements in their work. Dan Lin, who is a producer of such hits as The Lego Movie and Sherlock Holmes, touts that his position allows him to include the Chinese perspective.
- “You can see the influences in lots of different ways. For the next Lego Movie, we are making Lego Ninjago. So we are making a martial arts movie built out of Lego. And we are about to announce the star of that movie very soon. You will see it will be a huge Asian star, the biggest martial art star in the world. Hint. Hint. He will be also doing the action choreography for the movie. So that’s gonna be the first time you’ve ever seen action choreography for a Lego Movie. And I take it very seriously that my next goal is to kind of bridge the gap between Asia and the US and specifically in China. We’re trying to figure out how do we bring western story telling techniques to China and at the same time bring great Chinese stories and Chinese myths and be able to tell them and share them with the rest of the Western world. That’s the next frontier, in my opinion,” Lin said.
China Box Office Surges 32 Percent in First Nine Months of the Year
9:58 PM PST 09/29/2014 by Clifford Coonan
- Chinese box office revenue rose 32 percent in the first nine months of the year to hit $3.55 billion (21.6 billion yuan), already nearly equaling last year’s full-year total. Forty five films this year made the symbolic 100 million yuan ($16.27 million) mark. Total box office in 2013 was $3.55 billion (21.8 billion yuan).
- The top 10 is divided between domestic films and four foreign films.
Netflix’s first original movie will be a sequel to ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon’
By Nathan Ingraham on September 29, 2014 09:36 pm
- Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend will feature the first film’s star Michelle Yeoh and will premiere on August 28th, 2015 on Netflix as well as in IMAX movie theaters. It’s worth noting that theatrical distribution for this film will be limited to only IMAX screens, at least initially. For those who don’t have a screen nearby, Netflix will be the only way to catch the film. As noted by Variety, IMAX is hoping that for a successful opening in China, a country where Netflix is unavailable.
AMC Theaters Refuses to Show Netflix’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon Sequel
Jack Linshi Sept. 30, 2014
- AMC Theaters said they will boycott Netflix’s first feature film, a sequel to 2000’s Oscar-winning Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, which the streaming company plans to release both on its website and in select IMAX theaters, many of which are operated by AMC.
- AMC joined two other major theater chains, Regal and Cinemark, that are refusing to show Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend, which Netflix produced with Weinstein Co. In the U.S., AMC has 147 IMAX theaters, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Together, the three chains operate 247 of the 400 IMAX theaters in North America.
- Netflix announced Monday that the movie was on its way, set for Aug. 28, 2015. Many believe the streamed movie is Netflix’s attempt at disrupting the traditional movie release cycle in which films migrate from big to small screens.
Why Chinese money is flowing into Hollywood
CNBC – Fri, Oct 3, 2014 11:22 PM AEST
- More Chinese money is flowing into American entertainment. Chinese investment in U.S. entertainment, including film, has grown to around $2.7 billion from 2000 to the second quarter of this year, according to the Rhodium Group, which tracks Chinese direct investment in the U.S. And in the third quarter, there’s already been a pickup in Chinese film and media companies opening U.S. shops.
- The populous nation’s middle class-with many experiencing movie theaters for the first time-is fueling China’s appetite for Hollywood fare. By 2022, McKinsey forecasts more than 75 percent of China’s urban households will join the middle class, compared to just 4 percent in 2000.
- China’s box-office receipts in 2013 grew 27 percent year-over-year to $3.6 billion, or roughly 10 percent of total global sales, according to the Motion Picture Association of America. While the U.S. and Canada pocketed 30.4 percent of the global box office-a modest 1 percent annual gain-China is just getting started.
China’s Fosun Group to invest $200 mln in Studio 8 – WSJ
Sept 24 Wed Sep 24, 2014 1:28pm EDT
- Reuters) – Chinese conglomerate Fosun Group is investing $200 million in U.S. media company Studio 8, a startup led by former Warner Bros executive Jeff Robinov, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing sources familiar with the matter.
- Studio 8 has a five-year tie-up with Sony Corp’s Sony Pictures Entertainment to distribute 24 of its movies, the first of which is likely to hit cinemas by 2016, the report added.
Fifth Annual US-China Film Summit Hits Los Angeles in November
By Jason Hughes on September 25, 2014 @ 9:00 am
- Asia Society Southern California is launching its Fifth Annual U.S.-China Film Summit and gala dinner on Tuesday, Nov. 5 in Los Angeles. The flagship event of the organization’s Entertainment and Media in Asia (EMASIA) series features several panel discussions exploring the growing relationship between Hollywood and China.
- “As Hollywood and China grow closer with ever increasing velocity, a new, game-changing phenomenon — the nexus of traditional entertainment and new media — has fully entered the picture,” said Peter Shiao, chairman of the Summit and CEO of Orb Media Group. “The fusing of technology and content and the movement of entrepreneurial companies, capital and creativity between the U.S and China mark our themes for the 2014 U.S.-China Film Summit.”
Chinese Online Movie-Ticket Sales Rose 43 Percent Last Year, Study Finds
4:12 AM PST 09/26/2014 by Clifford Coonan
- China’s box-office boom, which has seen theatrical revenue rise by 20 percent a year, has been accompanied by a jump in people using online systems and cellphones to buy their movie tickets.
- Anything that makes it easier for Chinese audiences to get tickets to go to the movies is good news for Hollywood studios trying to break into the world’s second-biggest film market. According to statistics from research group Entgroup, the number of people paying for movie tickets online rose 42.9 percent in the past year, while the number of those who pay with their cellphones increased by 109 percent.
Why Hollywood Is Obsessed With China
posted on Sept. 22, 2014, at 9:33 p.m. Adam B. Vary
Women scarce in films abroad, USC study finds
By Rebecca Keegan September 22, 2014
- Chinese movies were more gender-balanced than American ones: Women made up 35% of characters in Chinese films, compared with 29.3% in American movies. And women directed 16.7% of Chinese films during the period studied — January 2010 to May 1, 2013 — as compared to none of the U.S. films.
- “It is a critical time … for the entertainment industry as they expand into international territories, and particularly China,” said Stacy L. Smith, director of the Media, Diversity, & Social Change Initiative at USC’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. “My interest was in … understanding what audiences in growing markets might already be watching.”
Chinese Web Giant Baidu Launches Kickstarter-Style Service
3:37 AM PST 09/22/2014 by Clifford Coonan
- The online fund, which Baidu is launching with Taiwan’s Central Picture Corporation, Citic Bank and the Hong Kong law firm DeHeng, will allow investment of as little as $1.63, with yields based on the box-office performance of the projects.
- The first project offered to investors is Golden Age — featuring Tang Wei and Feng Shaofeng —which has been flagged as a Chinese version of Gone With the Wind. The fund quickly raised $29.3 million from over 3,300 supporters, which is 120 percent the targeted sum.
U.S-China Film & TV Expo in L.A.: “It’s the Best Time to Create Content”
11:43 PM PST 09/16/2014 by Tim Appelo
- Major players from Hollywood and China gathered at Los Angeles’ Convention Center for the US-China Film & TV Industry Expo on Sept 15-16, which featured 60 speakers and executives from companies like Relativity Media, The Weinstein Company, Technicolor, Universal Pictures International and dignitaries from L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti to Yunnan Film Group president Zhang Xun.
- But experts on the Online Streaming Media panel with Levinsohn (LeVision vp Shan Dongbing, Defy Media evp marketing Andy Tu, Zefr co-founder/CEO Zach James, and Jiafix president/co-founder Marc Ganis) stressed that both cultures have far to go to bridge their gap. Jiaflix’s Marc Ganis (who says his cousin, former AMPAS president and Jiaflix chair/co-founder Sid Ganis, “got the niceness gene in the family”) cited the performance of Transformers 4 in China as proof that the Chinese market is fulfilling its vast potential. “We broke Avatar’s record, $217 million, in eight days — we’re the only movie that’s broken $250 million, and then over $300 million. We had 30 days, and Avatar had 127 days in theaters, which doesn’t happen anymore. Now it’s 30 days or less, and after the first two weekends you’re basically done.”
- Instead, Jiaflix devised a Box Office Protection program to block piracy. “We created a very sophisticated proprietary data collection system to identify anomalies [in ticketing], and when we did, we’d send in 1,200 people from the China Film Group to investigate. Paramount was surprised at how little piracy there was.” The Box Office Protection program was pricey, but worth it. “We made 40 times our investment back the first week, and more later,” said Ganis.
- Cheng added that rules governing content may be different in China and Hollywood, but eventually there will be common ground. “In China, there are sensitive topcs that can’t be shown. In America, there are rules about film credits and unions, and Chinese say, ‘We don’t know that rule exists.’ But in five years, filmmakers in the U.S. will have a much easier time in China.”
China’s Lu Chuan Links With Hollywood on Sci-fi Debut (Exclusive)
12:38 AM PST 09/03/2014 by Clifford Coonan
- Lu hooks up with VFX powerhouse Prime Focus as he emerges from the art house to embark on his first commercial outing One of China’s most celebrated younger film directors, Lu Chuan, has enlisted top Hollywood VFX company Prime Focus as he starts lensing his first commercial film, a big-budget sci-fi action movie.
- The movie is as yet untitled. For a working title, its Chinese name is Gui Chui Deng which translates as “The Ghost blows out the Lamp.” “It won’t be a ghost story. It’s a science fiction adventure film,” says Lu, who was coy about revealing the budget figure, saying only it was “a lot for a Chinese movie.”
China’s Huayi Brothers Setting Up $130 Million U.S. Subsidiary
7:43 PM PST 09/15/2014 by Clifford Coonan
- Private Chinese production company Huayi Brothers Media Co. will set up a $130 million subsidiary in the United States to invest in the distribution and production of movies and TV shows.
- In a regulatory filing to the Shenzhen stock exchange, the company said the subsidiary would help Huayi Brothers expand overseas and would also be used for marketing, promotion and investment, as well as mergers and acquisitions. It will be subject to the usual regulatory approvals.
China’s Wanda to Spend $1.2 Billion on Beverly Hills Entertainment HQ
3:58 AM PST 08/08/2014 by Clifford Coonan
- Hong Kong – China’s Wanda Group will spend $1.2 billion to develop its Hollywood presence after it won a bid for a plot of land at 9900 Wilshire Boulevard, Beverly Hills, for the HQ of its U.S. entertainment business.
- “The Los Angeles office will be able to leverage on Hollywood’s solid film industry resources to support the group’s Qingdao Oriental Movie Metropolis and Qingdao International Film Festival projects in China. The office will also be the base for investment in local film production companies or global theatrical releases,” Wanda said.
Jason Statham Looks to Star in Chinese Action Film
2:18 AM PST 08/04/2014 by Abid Rahman
- A Chinese producer says he is looking to create “an action movie only for Chinese audiences” with the British action hero, who is on tour in China to promote “The Expendables 3.”
- The British star also revealed that he had been looking to do a film project in China for a number of years, ever since he worked with Chinese actress Shu Qi and Hong Kong director Corey Yuen on his 2002 breakout film The Transporter. “We [Qi and Yuen] shared a lot of interests and tastes in films. I had this idea, but for years I still haven’t fulfilled it,” said Statham, adding: “The key is finding the right project with the right person.”
China’s Wanda Takes on Disney, DreamWorks Animation With Plan for 200 Theme Parks
3:08 AM PST 08/13/2014 by Clifford Coonan
- General manager of Wanda’s children’s entertainment unit, Qiu Xiaojun, said the parks, which translate from Chinese as “Wanda Baby King Park,” were similar in some ways to Disney theme parks and would feature cartoon images based on a 52-episode series of animations that Wanda had commissioned.
- Wanda chairman Wang Jianlin, who is China’s richest individual and who bought the AMC theater chain for $2.6 billion in 2012, said in a speech in Shanghai that the parks were aimed at encouraging better relations between parents and children.
- Each theme park will be around 3,000 to 5,000 square meters (32,000 to 53,800 square feet), and will involve a range of activities for children, including special events for toddlers, themed photography, birthday parties, family restaurants and a special plaza for babies.
- The first round of parks will come this year with parks in cities including Dongguan, Kunming, Xishan, Anhui province and at Wanda Plaza in the Beijing suburb of Tongzhou. There will be 109 Wanda Baby King parks by the end of this year, with the total rising by 25 each year from 2015-2020.
The Rise Of The Chinese Box Office Is Staggering, And It’s Transforming Hollywood
Allan Smith Jul. 26, 2014, 1:10 AM
- The Chinese box office grew by an astounding 27% to $3.6 billion in 2013, according to the Motion Picture Association of America. To put that number in comparison, China’s $900 million dollars box office growth was more than the total size of all but eight international box offices.
- China brought in $1.2 billion more than second place Japan and $1.9 billion more than the third place United Kingdom. The U.S./Canada market remained the largest at $10.9 billion, up 1% from 2012. Globally, box office revenue increased 4%.
- Motion Picture Association of America
Chinese Film Company Announces Plans for ‘Avatar’ Rival
7:46 PM PST 07/27/2014 by Abid Rahman
- A Chinese company is planning to make a film that would rival James Cameron’s hit 3D spectacular Avatar, Xinhua News Agency reported Sunday. Titled Bainiaoyi, the movie is based on the folklore of the Zhuang ethnic minority, a culture designated with national heritage importance by the Chinese Ministry of Culture.
- Xinhua says the plot will revolve around a young man named Guka who tries to find the “bainiaoyi” — a magical piece of clothing — to help him defeat an evil dragon plaguing the Zhuang people.
- The film will be produced by Beijing Chinese Century Media Company, and some heavy-duty talent has been drafted in to make the movie a reality, including special effects directors from Avatar and Pirates of the Caribbean as well as a scriptwriter from Terminator 2 and How to Train Your Dragon, all of which have been big hits in China.
The Chinese animation firm aiming to rival Hollywood
By Neil Koenig Series producer, The New Entrepreneurs 4 August 2014 Last updated at 19:02 ET
- Mr Wang says the goal of the company is to produce animated movies like those made by Pixar and Dreamworks, aiming to achieve the same level of quality as the giant US studios. He believes that the time is right for his new venture. As China goes through a transition from an economy based on industry, to one more driven by domestic consumption, he sees a growing appetite for home-produced entertainment.
- The problem was that it was difficult to find people with the right skills in China, because few, if any, large-scale animated movies were being made at the time. “We needed to do a poaching trip,” he says. He travelled to California, visiting Hollywood and Silicon Valley, and ended up hiring a handful of highly experienced people, who helped him to recruit the rest of the team.
- Mr Wang says he is in the fortunate position to have raised the resources to make several feature films over the next few years. If the movies prove to be successful, he sees the potential to expand into other areas, such as merchandising or even theme parks.
The Chinese Version Of Pixar Raised $20M While Making Its First 3D Movie
Aviva Gat, GeekTime Jun. 23, 2014, 9:29 AM
- Light Chaser Animation Studios, a Beijing-based developer of animated films, raised $20 million in a Series B investment round led by GGV Capital and Chengwei Capital while working on its first 3D feature.
- “Light Chaser is still an early stage venture. We much appreciate the attention and support from all of our friends,” Gary Wang, the founder of Light Chaser, said in a June 20 statement on the funding. “We aim to create highest quality works that are truly original and would fuse both art and technology.”
- Wang previously founded Tudou.com, which is the Chinese version of Youtube. Tudou launched in 2005 and within two years had more than 55 million video views per day. In March 2013, Wang founded Light Chaser to create animated films that show Chinese culture and already it has attracted talent from around the world. The company is working on its first 3D animated feature film called Little Door Spirits, which it intends to complete by July 2015 with a $12 million budget.
Imax Signs 19-Theater Deal in China
3:22 PM PST 07/21/2014 by Etan Vlessing
Imax sits back and watches China’s cinema appetite grow
Richard Blackwell The Globe and Mail Published Thursday, Jul. 24 2014, 6:11 PM EDT
- In April, Imax announced the sale of 20 per cent of its Chinese operation to private equity funds China Media Capital and FountainVest Partners, and said it was considering an initial public offering of that part of the Imax business. Imax already has partnerships with other Chinese groups, including the giant multinational developer Wanda Group.
- Mr. Gelfond, who led a buyout of Imax from its Canadian founders 20 years ago, said business in China is growing sharply, even as North America is relatively weak.
- The company’s overall box office revenue was down 2 per cent in the second quarter compared to a year ago, to $216-million (U.S.). Domestic revenue (which includes the United States and Canada) was off 18 per cent, mainly thanks to a weak slate of recent films. In China, by contrast, box office revenue was up by 47 per cent, driven by the opening of new theatres.
- One reason for the firm’s success in China, Mr. Gelfond said, is that Imax was active there just as the movie business was exploding. In western markets, “Imax had to dislodge kind of an existing order to put itself in the middle of the entertainment landscape,” he said. “In China, when we started, there were 2,000 screens in the whole country. Now there are 20,000. We grew up with cinema in China.”
- The recently released Transformers: Age of Extinction did particularly well in China, Mr. Gelfond said. “[It] is our highest grossing film ever in that market, grossing around $35-million so far and surpassing the previous highest film, Avatar, by 50 per cent. … With this film we are all witnessing the power of the Chinese box office.”
- And the next two years could be “some of the strongest box office years in recent history” he predicted, with movies such as Avengers: Age of Ultron, Jurassic World, a new James Bond film, Captain America 3, and Star Wars: Episode VII.
John Cusack, Adrien Brody Join China’s ‘Dragon Blade’
June 15, 2014 | 12:45AM PT
- Cusack will play Lucius, a Roman general who leads a legion of soldiers into China. Brody plays power-hungry Tiberius, who has killed Roman Consul Crassus and chases after Lucius with 100,000 troops.
- The previously announced Jackie Chan stars as commander of the protectorate of the western regions, who teams up with Lucius to protect China’s borders and sovereignty.
US-Chinese sequel to ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon’ announced
2014-06-16 17:03 Shanghai Daily Web Editor: Si Huan
- The Sino-US production, titled “The Green Destiny” will be shot later this year in New Zealand and China. Co-produced by Pegasus Media, China Film Group Corporation and the Weinstein Company, it is expected to be released in 2016.
- The action-packed sequel centers on the battles for a precious ancient Chinese sword. Malaysian actress Michelle Yeoh and Hong Kong actor Nicholas Tse have been confirmed to star in the movie.
- “It will retain the Oriental flavor of the first installment while presenting more stunning visual effects with the help of foreign expertise,” said Sun.
Chinese Directors on Winning Global Box Office: ‘Attacking Hollywood Is the Best Way’
2:09 AM PST 06/18/2014 by Clifford Coonan
- Fang Li said he does not see Hollywood as the enemy.
- “I would like to shake hands with Hollywood. We are all professionals in the same industry. I welcome Hollywood. I think if Hollywood wants to take root in China for a long time, they also need Chinese partners and to make Chinese films. Just like McDonald’s and KFC have started selling soy milk and you tiao (dough sticks). It doesn’t matter if they are Chinese films or Hollywood films. They go with each other in the end. The audience decides everything,” said Fang.
- Xu Zheng said he believes the best form of defense is frontal attack.
- “The people who watch films are very important and I trust them. Chinese audiences have a real need to watch the stories about themselves, and their needs are not being satisfied — I think it will be a long time before we can satisfy them,” said Xu.
- Wang Haifeng said there were various ways China might confront Hollywood.
- “The domestic market is important, but it has to go overseas. The output of film is not just film, it is culture. American films are exporting their culture. If there is no export, the next generation will only know Spiderman, Batman and Ironman. Traditional Chinese culture will be gone. How do we preserve our own culture and at the same time make other countries understand our culture? Film export is very important,” said Wang.
China Box Office: ‘Transformers: Age of Extinction’ Is No. 1 Film of All Time
8:54 PM PST 07/07/2014 by Clifford Coonan
- After only 10 days in release, Paramount’s Transformers: Age of Extinction has become the top-grossing movie of all time in China with $222.7 million in ticket sales, eclipsing the $221.9 million grossed by James Cameron’s Avatar. The 3D tentpole achieved the milestone over the weekend.
- Transformers: Age of Extinction registered 338,793 screenings with 17.72 million admissions after 10 days to become the top-grossing movie in history at the Chinese box office, not accounting for inflation and currency translation, according to data for the week to June 6 from research group Entgroup.
MPAA Strikes Deal With China’s Xunlei to Prevent Piracy
12:58 AM PST 06/04/2014 by Clifford Coonan
- The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has struck a deal with the popular Google-backed Chinese-language video and music file-sharing firm Xunlei to boost legitimate access to film and TV shows online.
- “The steps are aimed to counter the suspected mass infringement of MPAA member studios titles on Xunlei’s services,” the statement ran. Under the CPA, Xunlei has agreed to implement a comprehensive system of measures to prevent unauthorized downloading of MPAA member company copyrighted works.
- “With the largest number of Internet users in the world, the Chinese market offers tremendous potential for content creators to make their works available online to hundreds of millions of consumers,” said Steven Fabrizio, the MPAA’s senior executive vice president and global general counsel. “This agreement is an important step forward in carrying out the MPAA’s mission in this significant market,” he said.
Shanghai Film Fest: Hollywood-China Deals in Focus
9:32 PM PST 06/15/2014 by Clifford Coonan
- Relativity Media said is it was forming a joint partnership with China’s third biggest broadcaster, Jiangsu Broadcasting Corp, to develop, co-finance co-produce and distribute film and TV productions in China.
- And Village Roadshow Pictures Asia and Warner Bros. will team up to co-finance and co-produce Desen International Media’s 3D Chinese fantasy film Zhong Kui: Snow Girl and the Dark Crystal. The film is now in production and is also set to open on Chinese New Year next year. The film is directed by Zhao Tianyu (The Law of Attraction, Deadly Delicious) and stars Chen Kun (The Painted Skin, The Painted Skin 2, Bends) and Li Bingbing, who appeared in Detective Dee and Transformers: Age of Extinction.
- A social highlight was the American Film Night party, co-sponsored by the Motion Picture Association and Shanghai Tang, at the fashion company’s flagship store in the city, where MPA’s Asia-Pacific chief Mike Ellis spoke of the growing closeness between Hollywood and China.
- “I love taking risks,” said Kidman. “As an actor, my career is always about pushing myself and pushing the boundaries. … I also like Chinese women; maybe one day I could play a Chinese woman,” she quipped.
- This year’s jury panel for the Golden Goblet award is headed by mainland actress Gong Li, who is also the festival’s first female jury president. Jackie Chan, Nicholas Tse, Tony Leung, Ning Hao, Li Bingbing and Gao Yuanyuan were among the local talent attending.
Huading Film Awards in Los Angeles
Halle Berry, Orlando Bloom honored at Huading Awards
CCTV.com 06-03-2014 19:17 BJT
- China’s Huading Awards have been handed out at a glittering event in Los Angeles. Halle Berry won the Global Icon Award, Orlando Bloom the Best Global Movie Star Award, and Charlie Hunnam the Best Global Emerging Actor Award.
- The Huading Awards, established in 2007, were handed out in the United States for the first time, at Los Angeles’s Ricardo Montalban Theater.
- The show was co-hosted by Lucy Liu and Olivia Xu. The bilingual award show’s winners were selected by an estimated 80 million Chinese through online voting and surveys.
Face of Future Past: Fan Bingbing proud to be X-Men’s Blink
- Xinhua and Staff Reporter 2014-05-23 11:48 (GMT+8)
- Fan Bingbing in X-Men: Days of Future Past. (Photo/China Times)
- Blink, a popular character in the Marvel comics, has never appeared in an X-Men film before, and the mutant with the power of teleportation was never Asian.
- “I was under pressure in this role, because she’s loved by so many people,” Fan told Xinhua in an exclusive interview. “I feel very proud, because it’s difficult for Asians to play roles in Hollywood blockbusters, but Hollywood can’t ignore Chinese elements anymore,” she said.
‘Transformers 4′ Stars Wish Chinese Students Luck for College Entrance Exam
12:10 AM PST 06/06/2014 by Clifford Coonan
- “Hey, everyone, I’m Mark Wahlberg, star of the new movie Transformers 4: The Age of Extinction,” the actor says in his video. “The annual college entrance exam is coming, so I’d like to wish all of you students out there lots of luck, and don’t forget to catch Transformers 4 — after the exam!”
Lights! Camera! China! ‘Transformers’ Knows Its Audience
From Casting Effort, to Premieres, to Filming, a Nod to an Increasingly Important Market
By Erich Schwartzel in Los Angeles and Laurie Burkitt in Beijing Updated June 26, 2014 2:43 p.m. ET
- Four of the movie’s actors were cast through a Chinese reality show watched by millions. Crews spent weeks filming in Beijing and fan sightings of movie stars lighted up Weibo, China’s top social network. When it came time to throw a glitzy premiere, studio executives rolled out the red carpet in Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai.
- In the run-up to the movie’s release, the studio directed much of its global marketing firepower at China, where it has struck numerous promotional partnerships with companies, ranging from the maker of Oreo cookies to a massive real-estate conglomerate.
Transformers Is Making More in China Than in the U.S.
Abby Abrams July 2, 2014
- Transformers: Age of Extinction is more popular in China than it is in the United States, Variety reports. China Movie Media Group, a partner in the production, said Tuesday the film has made $134.5 million in China during its first five days of release, compared with $121 million in the first five days.
- Paramount Pictures went to great lengths to appeal to a Chinese audience. The company shot parts of the film there, cast Chinese star Li Bingbing in a lead role and partnered with local companies to help promote the film. This was the first time China Movie Media Group, the country’s largest distributor and film promoter, partnered with a U.S. studio.
Chinese Brands Strike a Pose in Hollywood Films
May 16, 2014 12:41 pm HKT
- Jiannanchun, a liquor known for its potent alcohol levels and distinct odor, makes an appearance in the latest sequel to Sony’s “Amazing Spider-Man,” which is currently in theaters from the U.S. to China. In the film, during a scene in which Spider-Man saves crowds from the villain, the brand’s distinct red bottle and Chinese logo are prominently displayed on a large billboard in New York City’s Times Square. It isn’t clear how much the company paid for the placement, although insiders estimated to China Real Time the price tag was likely more than 100 million yuan ($16 million).
- This isn’t the first time a Chinese brand has attracted attention by appearing in a Hollywood blockbuster. In 2009, a billboard ad for Chinese clothing retailer Meters/bonwe similarly appeared in Paramount’s “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.” Likewise, in the sequel to the movie, an actor holds up a bottle of Yili milk, China’s leading dairy brand.
- “American filmmakers are trying to attract local attention in China,” said Annie Li, president of the Beijing-based Reach Glory Communications. “The American side is more willing to listen to Chinese companies’ opinions than before.”
Transformers Uses Product Placement—Not China Version—to Win Audience
Posted by Abe Sauer on June 18, 2014 05:22 PM
- Paramount Pictures told China Daily that the film would contain Chinese brands and that those brands in the film “certainly reinforces the fact that this is Chinese culture.” Paramount would not confirm exactly how many partners it had, but recent statements on China’s social media sites have put the number as high as 20.
- Weibo users have been circulating a laundry list of Chinese brands that have been confirmed in the film, including Guangzhou Auto Group’s Trumpchi E-jet model, Black Duck (周黑鸭) packaged duck meat, TCL, Meters/bonwe and Lenovo, the last two of which also appeared in the last Transformers film.
- In the Chinese media, Paramount has bragged that there would be no “China version” of the film with Chinese actors and plots shoehorned in for Chinese audiences. In fact, Michael Bay has been very specific about how many minutes superstar Li Bingbing—who has also become a recurring character in the Resident Evil franchise—will be onscreen (30) and how much of the film takes place in Hong Kong (one third) and the Chinese scenic spot of Wulong (2.5 minutes). The statements are a slam against films like Iron Man 3 and Looper, which Chinese audiences lambasted for inserting nonsensical subplots just to get Chinese stars—and products—onscreen.
Disney Is About to See Even Bigger Returns From China
By Bradley Seth, McNew | More Articles May 20, 2014
- DreamWorks and Comcast are both preparing for their own film-themed amusement parks in China.
- The newest Universal theme park from Comcast’s Universal Studios is likely to open sometime around 2018 as well.
- Disney is already producing content specifically for a Chinese audience. The company is linking U.S. screenwriters with writers and directors in China, who work together on film projects in the classic Disney style. These films with “Chinese elements” are being made in the hope that this will make the products appealing to Chinese families in particular.
- However, the most exciting advancement for Disney in China will be the coming resort in Shanghai. Disneyland Shanghai, the first resort on the China mainland, is under development now and set to open in 2015. However, the company recently announced that it will invest an additional $800 million in the park for new attractions, entertainment, and guest capacity.
China’s Huayi Teams Up on Depp, Reeves Movies New Titles Add to List of Co-Productions Involving U.S. Stars May 8, 2014 10:34 a.m. ET
- The Beijing-based producer said on Thursday that it will join the production of “John Wick,” a movie about a hit man played by Mr. Reeves that will be released later this year. It will also help produce “Mortdecai,” an action-comedy about a roguish character played by Mr. Depp.
- The titles announced on Thursday add to the Huayi co-productions involving big U.S. stars. Last year, Huayi said it signed a co-production and distribution agreement with production firm QED International to make “Fury,” a World War II film starring Brad Pitt that it said will be simultaneously released in the U.S. and China in November.
- The new productions are part of a slate of films that the Chinese media company hopes will increase its presence in the industry. It plans to facilitate collaboration between high-profile Chinese directors and actors and foreign films to produce potential box-office winners in China. Foreign films co-produced with a Chinese partner often have an easier route to getting into China, where the industry is tightly controlled by the government.
China’s Moviegoers Trading Up From Hollywood Explosions To Homegrown Humor By Michelle FlorCruz@mflorcruz on May 09 2014 5:40 PM
- Between the premiere of “Titanic” and its re-release, Hollywood built a large fan base of theatergoers for dozens of other movies, bolstered by China’s breakneck economic growth and resulting increase in expendable income for the Chinese. According to data compiled by Ernst & Young, the average per capita disposable income more than tripled in China between 2000 and 2011, from $760 to $3,438, with media and entertainment being one of the largest areas of spending. In 2011 alone, the Chinese spent $547 billion on entertainment and recreation.
- Many of the biggest box office hits in China have been family-friendly animated films and action movies, perhaps because the focus on visual entertainment in those films, rather than dialogue or complex plotting, is what translates best. And Hollywood has manipulated the relationship to its advantage, luring Chinese audiences with such ploys as casting Chinese actors, such as domestic starlet Fan Bingbing in “Iron Man 3,” or locating a movie’s production setting to Shanghai instead of the originally pitched city of Paris, as in the movie “Looper.”
- Chinese authorities still have overarching influence over which films get a Chinese release, and despite a relaxed quota on foreign films that has opened the door to up to 44 foreign movies a year, the country’s fickle censorship bureau (the State Administration for Radio, Film and Television, or SARFT) is recalcitrant by nature.
- The most popular Chinese-made films, which increasingly rival Hollywood releases in box office performance, are stripped-down personal tales of modern Chinese life, Dickerson noted. According to Variety, in 2013, ticket sales for locally made Chinese films increased 144 percent to $1.12 billion, while imported films experienced a 21 percent drop to $670 million.
MPAA’s Chris Dodd: China Will Give More Access to Hollywood Movies
9:21 AM PDT 4/18/2014 by Clifford Coonan
- BEIJING — MPAA president Christopher Dodd is confident that China’s quota system restricting foreign movie imports to 34 titles a year will be lifted in coming years as Beijing honors its regulatory responsibilities.
- China raised the number of foreign films that can be imported on a revenue-sharing basis to 34 from 20 in 2012.
- Industry sources told THR recently that the quota looks set to be increased by 10 movies to include “prestige” films, art-house movies and Oscar winners. These movies don’t significantly threaten the box office of domestic films, but help China sweeten its relationship with Hollywood and meet its World Trade Organization obligations.
Hollywood studios eye China streaming deal to beat piracy
By Matthew Garrahan in Los Angeles April 27, 2014 6:01 pm
- Warner Brothers has a minority stake in Tencent’s Hollywood VIP service, which streams older films from several studios on a subscription basis but also makes new titles available to rent online for as little as $1.
- Hollywood VIP launched quietly at the end of 2012 and has attracted “a few hundred thousand” subscribers, according to Tencent and Warner Bros. However, this is the first time they are making new films available. The service has hundreds of titles, showing a mix of Chinese films and Hollywood fare: Walt Disney recently began licensing its films to the service, joining Universal Pictures, Miramax and Lions Gate Entertainment.
- “How can we truly say we are frustrated with China not buying our content if we won’t make it available in the time appropriate for the consumer market place?” said Mr Sanders. “We have a long way to go but this new model could be applicable for other markets.”
Hollywood’s new friends: The Chinese
By Scott Cendrowski, writer April 29, 2014: 12:09 PM ET
- Sohu, which started as a search engine, was part of a group that sued Youku in 2009 to protect the licensed Chinese content it was buying. Sohu ultimately prevailed in that case, and Youku, the country’s biggest video site, went on to focus on building a library of legal content.
- In the last year, Youku has bought rights for 30 Western shows like ABC’s Modern Family and BBC’s Sherlock. Tencent’s v.qq recently added the films Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Saving Mr. Banks and in March said it would double spending on video content to boost market share. Sohu made headlines in the U.S. and China after acquiring rights to the television series Saturday Night Live, Breaking Bad, and House of Cards.
- The rush for Western shows has attracted attention from China’s regulators, who until recently gave the sites leeway to broadcast almost anything. In late April, the Chinese state-owned press reported that four U.S. shows would be blocked from the streaming sites, including The Big Bang Theory, The Practice, NCIS, and The Good Wife.
- But censorship is unlikely to go very far, in part because Western content is hugely popular among Chinese viewers. Younger viewers are known to obsess over the movies and shows, and for good reason: Not only is the production quality better than what’s offered in Chinese, but Western movies and TV can become a status symbol, says Melanie Huang of CSM Media Research in Beijing. Telling your Chinese friends you watch House of Cards not only means you are proficient in English, but also that you have interest in the outside world.
- Sohu, the third-largest Chinese video site, is the most aggressive buyer of Western content.
- For chief executive Charles Zhang, adding U.S. entertainment was pretty simple: Hollywood content was cheap for Chinese sites because its success was not guaranteed, yet demand for pirated shows proved that fans existed in big numbers. “Thanks to piracy, there’s a general interest,” Zhang tells Fortune as he sits at a massive conference table that doubles as his office at Sohu’s headquarters on Beijing’s northwest side.
- In recent years, China’s dominant video sites have focused on acquiring rights to Western television programs because of the relative ease of adding advertisements to a show. (Entire TV seasons have many more opportunities for 1-minute commercials than does a film.)
- “Unlike the U.S., where you have a DVD window and HBO window, in China these don’t exist,” Youku CEO Victor Koo says. Because Chinese theaters are limited by the government to showing 34 foreign films a year, China’s video sites quickly become the destination for Western content. Which is why Disney and Warner Bros. (TWX) have signed deals with Youku’s subscription movie site called Youku Premium. Koo says the studios are making money on the deals that include revenue sharing agreements. Forecasts indicate that China will become the world’s largest movie market in six years — which means interest in Western content will continue to grow, so long as they can continue to combat piracy and collaborate with the government.
State-Owned China Film Group Makes Groundbreaking Investment in ‘Warcraft,’ ‘Seventh Son’
- China’s state-owned film company China Film Group has made an “eight-figure” equity investment in two forthcoming projects by Thomas Tull’s Legendary Entertainment feature film division: Seventh Son and Warcraft.
- Legendary emphasized that the news did not relate to Legendary East, its Asian unit, but it forms part of a multiyear deal signed last year with China Film Group to co-produce movies for the Chinese and global markets.
- The 2013 agreement also called for the two companies to fund the development and production of multiple pictures over an initial three-year term If the movies are approved for release in China, China Film Co. will distribute the films in the country based on the current rules and regulations on foreign films, with distribution and marketing support coming from Legendary East and its global distribution partner, Universal Pictures.
Paramount, China Film Group Corp. to Produce 3D ‘Marco Polo’
Patrick Frater Asia Bureau Chief April 18, 2014 | 07:34AM PT
- BEIJING — China Film Group Corp. and Paramount Pictures have struck a deal to produce the 3D sci-fi action film “Marco Polo.”
- The participants emphasized the significance of the first-time partnership between Par and Chinese film industry orgs. Deal was billed in a news announcement as an “important milestone in the history of cross-border cooperation in the U.S. and Chinese film industry.”
- Pic is expected to be directed by Rob Cohen, helmer of the first “Fast and Furious” movie, and will feature a mix of Hollywood and Chinese stars. The focus on the famed 13th-century Italian explorer, known for his travels in China and other parts of Asia, was designed to have maximum appeal to moviegoers in China and other global markets.
Hollywood stars flock to China, give India a miss
Gautaman Bhaskaran, Hindustan Times Chennai, April 04, 2014
- India makes the largest number of films in the world. About 1300 every 12 months, and the figure remains more or less the same year after year. In comparison, China produces just about half that number. Yet, the country remains the most sought after spot for Hollywood with its top stars jetting into some of the big cities there to promote their blockbusters. And India, despite its sheer numbers, is given the go-by by Big Hollywood.
- After movies like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon in 2000 and Hero in 2002, the country has managed to captivate audiences across continents (the first was theatrically released in India as well). Chinese cinema garnered respect and support. Several countries went to China for co-production deals, and in 2012, it became the second largest market in the world after America. Last year, China grossed $ 3.6 billion at the box office.
- With China’s movie market now stealing the show from Tokyo and Hong Kong, American actors feel that a stop at Beijing and Shanghai is a must for the success of their films.
Chinese directors critique Hollywood and China’s cinema
Updated: 2014-04-04 11:58
By Amy He in New York (China Daily USA)
- As more Hollywood movie stars show up in China to promote their work in the world’s second-largest box office, two of China’s biggest film directors offered their views on Hollywood and the Chinese cinema landscape.
- Reflecting on the movies popular in China now, Lee said that on one hand, directors are learning from Hollywood, but on the other, they’re resorting to recycle, “and that’s not good”.
- “How do you put the Chinese world into your movies if you’re making a movie for the world and you want the world to understand you?” Zhang asked. Lee said that the answer lied in “mastering the Hollywood style” and that there are “basic rules of movie-making that we all understand”. He said that moviemakers have to find their own language, and then work on finding a common language with the world.
- Both Lee and Zhang took pride in China being the biggest movie market in the world. “Hollywood came to me, I didn’t go to Hollywood,” Zhang said, referring to his next project. “This cooperation with Hollywood will be good promotion for Chinese culture.”
- Directors and moviemakers cannot be either too artistically-inclined or business-oriented, Lee said. “In a market as big as China’s, of course we all want to see it grow healthily, and wish for it to be better than America’s. And America is not necessarily healthy right now, either. I kind of want China to help America a little,” he joked.
China Box Office: ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ Opens Huge
4:04 AM PDT 4/8/2014 by Clifford Coonan
- Captain America: The Winter Soldier took a powerful $39.23 million in its opening three days in China, accounting for 40 percent of all screenings in the world’s second biggest film market during the Qingming “tomb-sweeping” holiday.
- Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson and Samuel L. Jackson came to Beijing to promote the movie last month, and their visit seems to have paid off. Captain America: The Winter Soldier, directed by brothers Anthony and Joe Russo, showed only in 3D in China and notched up 5.6 million admissions at 102,638 screenings here, nearly 40 percent of all showings in the country over the weekend, according to data from the Beijing-based research firm Entgroup. (Marvel Disney reports that the film opened to $39.2 million, while Entgroup has the figure at $36.23 million.)
Johnny Depp Makes First Trip to China
2:53 AM PDT 3/31/2014 by Clifford Coonan
- Depp was in the Chinese capital for a two-day press blitz, arranged by Beijing-based studio DMG, co-producers of the film with Alcon Entertainment, Straight Up Films and Warner Bros.
- He is the latest big Hollywood name to land in China — the last couple of weeks have seen Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L. Jackson and Chris Evans in town pushing Captain America: The Winter Soldier, while Andrew Garfield, Jamie Foxx and Emma Stone were also recently here to promote The Amazing Spider-Man 2.
- Asked about the growing closeness between Hollywood and China, Depp professed his disinterest in the business side. “But Hollywood has a lot to offer China — entertainment value, special effects, sci-fi, that sort of thing. China has a lot to offer Hollywood. There is a level of art, eons of culture here. We can learn a lot from each other,” said Depp.
- Asked if it was true he had a Chinese tattoo, Depp said he had a character from the classic Chinese text, the I Ching, on his arm, which he said he had done with Damien Echols, one of the West Memphis Three, who were falsely imprisoned for child murder then released after 18 years.
- Depp gamely posed in front of a giant cinema theater ticket, which he joked “was in my wallet yesterday. I was frightened going through customs, then unfolding it and unfolding it, then ironing it.” And he showed people how to order a ticket using a cell phone. The Chinese media loved it. Normally stars are encouraged to say something in Chinese, like ‘ni hao’ (hello) or their name, but Depp’s first public attempt at Chinese was ‘si kuai yi mao ba,’ which means 4.18 yuan (67 cents), the cost of the ticket if ordered by cell phone.
- Asked about Chinese food, he said he loved it. “There are spices here that can transform you into another human! You have very hot things here. I’ve always been fascinated by your culture.”
‘Winter Soldier’ to Fire Asia Shot With China’s Youku-Tudou
March 20, 2014 | 06:26AM PT Patrick Frater Asia Bureau Chief
- HONG KONG — The Walt Disney Co.’ and Marvel Entertainment’s “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” is to be co-marketed in China by Youku-Tudou, the country’s largest online video company.
- It is one of the first times that a major Hollywood movie kicks off its Asian premiere in China, rather than Japan’s Tokyo or the South Korean capital Seoul.
- On a trip to Los Angeles last week, CEO Victor Koo was recently quoted as saying that the company is “open to discussing strategic options.” That may mean using the company’s huge reach with Chinese consumers, internet and mobile users as a platform for more Hollywood partnerships.
China visit is becoming priority for Hollywood stars touting films
By Julie Makinen April 1, 2014, 6:20 p.m
- Stars are making promotional visits to China as the mainland movie market continues to soar and some Hollywood films do better there than in the U.S.
- “With some Hollywood films producing higher grosses at the China box office than in the U.S. domestic market, major studios’ focus on creating awareness and ticket-buying excitement for its films has never been higher,” Artisan Gateway President Rance Pow said of the ramped-up publicity efforts. “Also, with Chinese language film production and performance on the rise, wooing Chinese film patrons to cinemas becomes a competitive issue.”
- Another factor driving more appearances by Hollywood stars: Chinese investment in American films. Beijing company DMG Entertainment co-produced “Transcendence” along with Alcon Entertainment, and hence took an active role in its publicity campaign.
- Robert Cain, a producer and film consultant who specializes in the Chinese market, noted that foreign studios and producers are adding staff on the ground and supplementing the efforts of their Chinese distributors with their own marketing efforts.
- “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” was the top non-Chinese film in the first quarter, followed by “Need for Speed,” which has now earned $55.2 million in China, about $17 million more than its U.S. and Canada tally. Universal’s “Despicable Me 2,” the “Robocop” reboot and Disney’s “Frozen” rounded out the top five imported titles. But overall, the top spots went to Chinese films. Leading the pack were “The Monkey King” and “Dad, Where Are We Going?” which landed prime release slots over the Chinese New Year holiday that began in late January.
- “We make the movies we produce, and the stars in them, relevant to Chinese audiences,” said Dan Mintz, chief executive of DMG. “That means digging deeper to find real connections.”
Disney and Dreamworks Battle in China
By Bradley Seth, McNew | More Articles | Save For Later March 22, 2014
- The Chinese film and media industry is booming, both in terms of viewers and in terms of production. PricewaterhouseCoopers projects a value for the industry of $6.49 billion in 2017, more than double its $3.26 billion value in 2012. China also makes up the largest pay-TV market with 223 million households subscribed to the service. Looking at the market’s growth in the last decade, it’s easy to see why these analysts bullishly expect China to become the largest film and media market in the world in the next few years.
- Chinese film and media industry is booming, both in terms of viewers and in terms of production. PricewaterhouseCoopers projects a value for the industry of $6.49 billion in 2017, more than double its $3.26 billion value in 2012.
- China also makes up the largest pay-TV market with 223 million households subscribed to the service.
- Hollywood companies have quickly realized that their best chances for getting in on this growth do not just involve licensing and screening movies in China, as they have been partnering with Chinese production companies and competing with on-the-ground operations to make media products specifically for Chinese consumers.
- The Wanda group is now constructing the “Hollywood of China,” a media-production complex that will be the most impressive in the world. The $8.2 billion project will include a 10,000 square-foot main studio, 19 smaller studios, a theme park, seven hotels, an IMAX (NYSE: IMAX ) research center (the company has also inked a deal to place over 200 IMAX screens in Chinese cinemas), a film museum, a waxworks center, and even a year-round automobile and yacht trading center.
- Dreamworks partnered with Shanghai Media Group and three other separate local entertainment investment companies in a joint venture that includes production studios and attractions in Shanghai. Directors of the new venture called Oriental Dreamworks a “Chinese content company.”
- Disney won’t be left out of this booming Chinese film business. The company has struck a multi-year deal with one of the same Chinese media companies with which Dreamworks has a deal, Shanghai Media Group, to begin producing content specifically for a Chinese audience. The partnership seeks to co-develop Disney-branded movies for Chinese consumers.
CinemaCon: Global Box Office Hits Record $35.9 Billion in 2013 Thanks to China
10:30 AM PDT 3/25/2014 by Pamela McClintock
- China becomes the first market in history besides North America to cross the $3 billion mark in box office revenue.
- China remained the biggest headline, becoming the first international market in history to cross the $3 billion in ticket sales. Revenue reached $3.6 billion, a 27.5 percent gain over 2012. “And with 13 new screens being built every day, far more growth is coming,” Dodd said.
U.S. Rappers Behind China’s ‘Black Coal’ Berlin Winner
Patrick Frater Asia Bureau Chief March 19, 2014 | 08:00AM PT
- Rap musicians 50 Cent (pictured), Timbaland and Eminem and New York Knicks basketball player Carmelo Anthony are among the unlikely U.S. investors behind “Black Coal, Thin Ice,” the cutting edge Chinese film which won the Golden Bear at Berlin this year.
- They were corralled into backing the film by New York-based Daniel Victor of Boneyard Entertainment. Through its Boneyard Entertainment China offshoot, it was a financier and co-producer of “Black Coal.” The lead producer is China’s Jiangsu Omnijoi Movie Co.
- “We were all passionate about the idea of building a film business in China,” says Victor. “China is a fascinating country, the culture and history, and it is now the second-largest market for films in the world after the U.S. Their film industry and box office are growing astronomically.”
China teams up with Hollywood for terracotta army superhero movie
Paramount among studios trying to cash in on Chinese box office boom with film transplanting ancient clay soldiers to modern world
Ben Child theguardian.com, Tuesday 21 January 2014 13.12 GMT
- A Chinese superhero movie based on the world famous terracotta army sculptures is moving closer to fruition with the help of US studios, according to the South China Morning Post.
- Titled either Super Terracotta Warriors or Rise of the Terracotta Warriors, according to different reports, the project is likely to be seen as China’s answer to the recent slew of Hollywood films based on comic books. Details are murky, but the Post reports that the Shanghai Film Group has been approached by a number of studios, including Paramount, to collaborate on the project. Producer Avi Arad, who has worked on superhero fare such as Marvel’s Iron Man and rival studio Sony’s Spider-Man movies, is said to be the film’s main architect.
China Exclusive: “Gravity” inspires Chinese space scientists
English.news.cn 2014-03-06 16:33:46
- Zhang Bonan, chief designer of the country’s spaceship program, told Xinhua on Thursday that he had a professional interest in the movie. As a national legislator, he is in Beijing attending the ongoing annual parliamentary session, and was happy to discuss how “Gravity” both reflects and affects his work in the week in which it won seven Oscars, including the heavyweight Best Director award. “I am glad a foreign film portrays China’s space program,” he said. “It is a good promotion of us. “The parts in the film about China’s space station and spaceship are largely fictional. But I got a few ideas from them.”
- Liang Xiaohong, Party chief of the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology, told Xinhua that he liked its imagination and creativity. “In my list, this is the best ever space film,” he said.
- Ye Peijian, a top scientist with the Chang’e-3 program, the country’s lunar probe mission, said he is glad that a space film has proved popular. “A film like this is an efficient and lovely way to introduce complicated space science to ordinary people,” Ye believes.
Hollywood outshone as China box office booms in 2013
By Katie Hunt, CNN updated 1:23 AM EST, Thu January 9, 2014
- Hong Kong (CNN) — Homegrown movies dominated China’s box office in 2013, as annual takings totaled $3.6 billion, up almost a third on 2012, official figures released on Wednesday showed.
- Only three of the 10 highest-grossing movies were Hollywood productions and domestic films accounted for 71% annual box office revenues, said Zhang Hongsen, head of the film bureau under the State General Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, to the state-run Xinhua news agency.
Local Flavor Returns as China’s Box Office Booms
- Local productions powered a 27% rise in China’s box-office sales last year, according to one estimate, as Chinese-made films outdrew foreign movies after losing their top position in 2012.
- China’s box office raked in 21.6 billion yuan ($3.17 billion) last year, according to consulting firm Artisan Gateway. That’s compared with 17.07 billion yuan for 2012 and a mere 950 million yuan in 2002, when China first began shaking up its state-run movie houses and started allowing modern theater chains.
- Domestic films took in 12.7 billion yuan, or about 59% of total box-office receipts. China’s highest-grossing film by far was “Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons,” a domestic action-comedy based on traditional Chinese stories, co-directed by “Kung Fu Hustle” creator Stephen Chow and released in February. It pulled in 1.25 billion yuan, according to Artisan Gateway, ousting the 2012 comedy “Lost In Thailand” as China’s highest-grossing Chinese-language film.
Jeff Robinov Eyes Creating Film Company With Chinese Conglomerate
6:29 PM PST 3/5/2014 by Paul Bond
- Former Warner Bros. chief Jeff Robinov is negotiating to create a company that would produce roughly five movies annually, largely with money from Beijing-based Huayi Brothers Media, people familiar with the plan said Wednesday.
- Huayi Brothers, a publicly traded film production and record label founded 20 years ago by brothers Wang Zhongjun and Wang Zhonglei, is in discussions with other financiers who would also bankroll Robinov, whose films would likely be distributed by Sony.
- Huayi Brothers has been seeking a Hollywood partner for a few years, and almost struck a deal with Legendary Pictures in 2012, insiders have said. Other Chinese companies also have sought inroads to Hollywood, the Journal noted Wednesday, including Bison Capital Holdings, which this week invested in the Resolution talent agency and Wanda Corp., which acquired the AMC Entertainment movie exhibition company for $2.75 billion two years ago.
Disney in China digital entertainment venture with BesTV
Wed Dec 4, 2013 7:47am EST
- The venture, which will have a registered capital of $4 million, will be 51 percent-owned by China’s BesTV, with Disney’s unit TWDC Shanghai Enterprises LLC taking the rest, the companies said in separate statements.
Universal looks to China as US film revenue flatlines
By Christopher Williams 21 Dec 2013
Film studio’s head of international says China is the next key market for global audiences
- “The international box office is having another big growth year,” he says. “There are a few markets that are struggling like Spain. Latin America is growing very quickly. China is growing between 30pc and 40pc. The whole of south-east Asia is growing. Russia continues to grow.
- “Piracy rates are high in places, and people don’t have a culture of owning things like that. Russia there’s no DVD market, China there’s no DVD market. But now with pay-TV and digital on demand there’s an opportunity as broadband speeds in these places pick up for people to see and pay for content, whereas they weren’t paying anything before.
- “China is one of those that starts to have significant weight. We try to make movies that will play everywhere. Usually the thing the Chinese audience wants is the same thing a UK or German or Brazilian audience wants.”
A year of partnership between China and Hollywood
01-02-2014 09:53 BJT
- Hollywood came to China by the dozens, from studio executives to stars like Nicole Kidman, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Leonardo DiCaprio, with hopes of drumming up business between the East and West.
- Tom Cruise brought his futuristic sci-fi “Oblivion” on his first visit to Beijing, and even made his long wish come true by scaling the Great Wall of China. Baz Luhrman, who got his inspiration for The Great Gatsby on a Tran-Siberian Express from China to Moscow, returned to China with the extravagant 3D remake of the American classic. And Nicolas Cage took home the “Best global actor in motion pictures” trophy. “Making a movie in China, I’m buzzing with good energy, I feel great here. “
- On the other hand, Chinese actress Fan Bingbing will not only have a lead role in the fourth instalment of Michael Bay’s Transformers franchise, the movie will also be extensively shot at various locales in China.
- “Gravity is not a Chinese production, and does not involved Chinese talents but it has a very important detail in the plot. Sandra Bullock, the protagonist, as a last resort, used a Chinese module to fly home safely back to earth. And that touch was noticed by a large part of the Chinese population. And of course, people interpreted it differently, but largely as China is standing up in technology, and also in presence on the world screen.” said Raymond Zhou, Film Critic.
Chinese Box Office Set for More Explosive Growth
Dave McNary October 20, 2013 | 12:29PM PT
- That was the overriding sentiment expressed at Saturday night’s “China’s Entertainment Industry: The Next Chapter” panel at the Beverly Hilton Hotel as part of the awards ceremonies for the Beijing International Screenwriting Competition. “I don’t think it’s quite registered in Hollywood how important China will be,” noted moderator Robert Cain, a partner in production company Pacific Bridges.
- The surging Chinese box office was up 36% in the first half of this year to $1.79 billion, and it’s seen impressive grosses for homegrown films such as “Tiny Times,” “Journey to the West,” “So Young” and “Lost in Thailand,” which has topped $200 million. Chinese audiences are also offering solid support to U.S. films — so much so that China was the world’s top box office market for “Pacific Rim” ($112 million vs. $101 million in the U.S.), “Jurassic Park 3D” ($56 million vs. $45 million in the U.S.) and “Cloud Atlas” ($27.7 million vs. $27 million in the US)
- Bennett C. Pozil of East West Bank, who was involved in financing “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” in 2000, said he’s hopeful that American audiences of the new Chinese films from young directors. “They are as good as anything we are turning out here,” he added. Veteran producer Sid Ganis agreed. “In terms of storytelling, the Chinese know what they’re doing,” he noted.
Keanu Reeves’ Man of Tai Chi bridges Hollywood and China
Directorial debut a real attempt at Hollywood-China co-production
By Jessica Wong, CBC News Posted: Nov 05, 2013 3:19 PM ET
- In recent years, North American filmmakers have courted Chinese audiences and investors, but have typically offered little in return: perhaps an extended sequence filmed in Shanghai or a pretty Chinese starlet in a fleeting role Reeves and producer Lenore Syvan approached the powerful China Film Group as a partner on the $25 million US project and the result — set in Beijing and Hong Kong, featuring high-profile Asian stars in key roles and crafted by a largely Chinese production crew — screens like a real collaboration.
- Man of Tai Chi’s hybrid nature carries through the film’s theme of struggling between tradition and modern life, old and new, pure and mixed martial arts, Mandarin and Cantonese as well as English. “To me, it feels like a universal film,” Syvan said. “A Chinese story but a universal film.”
China demands ‘positive images’ in return for access to markets
Hollywood required to provide scripts that enhance Chinese culture in order to find favour with authorities controlling movie production
Andrew Pulver theguardian.com, Wednesday 6 November 2013 10.01 GMT
- Speaking at the US/China Film Summit, held in LA on the eve of the American Film Market convention, China Film Co-Production Company president (CFCC) Zhang Xun told Hollywood executives: “We have a huge market and we want to share it with you [but] we want films that are heavily invested in Chinese culture, not one or two shots … We want to see positive Chinese images.”
- The CFCC is a particularly influential agency as it selects US productions for co-production status with Chinese companies, thereby allowing films to bypass the quota system China currently has in place for foreign films. Films such as Cloud Atlas and were turned down for co-production, despite having significant elements designed to accommodate Chinese sensibilities, while Zhang was thought to be referring to Iron Man 3 with the “one or two shots” line. Zhang told the conference that to qualify a film had to have a minimum of 20% Chinese investment, significantly feature Chinese talent, and possess a joint script.
AFM: China and Hollywood: Best Friends Forever?
1:13 AM PST 11/8/2013 by Clifford Coonan
- With China’s high-profile presence at AFM, insiders say the tenuous bond between the film sectors is reaching unprecedented levels of cooperation.
- With its massive potential — the nation is now building 10 movie screens a day for an estimated population of 1.35 billion — Hollywood is leading the charge to find ways into the Chinese market. Insiders say co-productions and younger-skewing films targeting a new generation of moviegoers are the best way forward.
- Marc Schipper, chief operating officer of L.A.-based Exclusive Media, says many in Hollywood still see China as merely a source of money and don’t approach the industry in a more holistic way. “There is a growing trend in that direction,” he says. “China now has the second biggest box office in the world. We have a number of quota film rights we are selling at the American Film Market, and we are looking at producing more films for the Chinese market.”
- Dasym Investment Strategies B.V. is executive producing the movie, and Dasym’s Charles Coker believes co-productions are a wonderful opportunity to cooperate with Chinese partners while also meeting strict rules about what qualifies as a co-production. “We have two of the biggest stars in China, and the story is based in China and Hong Kong,” he says. “It’s a story that has all the elements for a co-production in China, and it is shot within not just the letter, but the spirit, of co-productions.”
Feature: Nicolas Cage praises Chinese cinema, looks forward to performing in China
English.news.cn 2013-08-31 05:30:3 By Marzia De Giul
- VENICE, Italy, Aug. 30 (Xinhua) — “I am attracted by Chinese cinema because it is good,” Hollywood star Nicolas Cage told Xinhua on Friday during the ongoing Venice Film Festival on the Lido island in Italy. The Academy Award-winning actor said that Chinese cinema has many “great actors such as Liang Chaowei and Zhou Runfa” working with “great directors” for “great movies.”
- “I have a great relation with China and I am proud of that,” he highlighted. Cage went on to say that he has visited China several times. “There is a great flow in the conversation that I have with the people there, they are always very warm to me and I am very thankful,” he stressed. The 49-year-old actor also told Xinhua that he is “going to be in China in about three weeks to play in a Chinese financed film called Outcast,” an action adventure movie that will also star Hayden Christensen.
China’s Wanda Unveils $8.2 Billion Movie Fund as Hollywood A-Listers Lend Support
11:57 PM PDT 9/21/2013 by Clifford Coonan
QINGDAO, China – China’s Wanda Group has unwrapped an $8.2 billion film investment plan to transform the country’s movie industry into the world’s biggest within five years, and group chairman Wang Jianlin said the company, which bought the AMC theater chain last year, is just starting to expand globally.
Hollywood A-listers turned out in force in searing sunshine in Qingdao, northeastern China, with Leonardo DiCaprio, Nicole Kidman and Harvey Weinstein there to show moral support for the Qingdao Oriental Movie Metropolis complex, which is slated to open in 2017 in the eastern Chinese port city.
Wanda has signed agreements with film studios and talent agencies to have about 30 foreign movies produced at the new facility every year, as well as 100 local films.
“China’s economy is growing fast but it’s still only half the U.S. economy, but in less than 10 years it will catch up. The Chinese movie industry cannot compete with Hollywood and there is a big gap, but that also means the potential is great. The Chinese culture industry is only 2 percent of our economy, but in America it’s 20 percent of the economy,” he said.
Wanda operates 72 Wanda commercial plazas, 38 five-star hotels, more than 6,000 cinema screens, 62 department stores and 68 karaoke outlets.
Chinese tycoon takes aim at Hollywood
Hollywood Stars to Attend China’s Version of the Oscars
11:35 AM PDT 10/6/2013 by Patrick Brzeski
- Quentin Tarantino, Nicole Kidman, and Nicolas Cage are among the surprise guests walking the red carpet at the Huading Awards in Macau Monday night. China’s Huading Awards, a vote-based awards show that celebrates top Chinese talent in athletics and entertainment, is getting a big Hollywood boost in its attempt to establish itself as China’s answer to the Oscars.
- Quentin Tarantino, Nicolas Cage, Sam Worthington, Jeremy Irons, and Mathew Perry have all landed in Macau to attend the awards gala that will be held Monday night at Sheldon Adelson’s Venetian Casino in the former Portuguese colony turned Chinese entertainment enclave. Event insiders say Nicole Kidman also landed in Macau this morning and will make a turn on the red carpet. Hong Kong auteur Wong Kar Wai and Jackie Chan will be representing the Chinese industry, as will Booboo Stewart (Twilight, X-Men) and other upcoming Asian stars.
Transformers 4 recruits 4 Chinese actors
China.org.cn | 2013-8-28 16:05:07 By Agencies
- (From L to R) Austin, Teresa, Byron and Candice eventually win the much-coveted movie parts on the “Transformers 4 Chinese Actors Talent Search Reality Show” held in Beijing, Aug. 25, 2013. [China.org.cn]Byron Li, Austin Lin, Candice Zhao, Teresa Daley eventually won the much-coveted movie parts Sunday night on the “‘Transformers 4 Chinese Actors Talent Search Reality Show,” launched by Paramount Pictures in cooperation with Jiaflix and the China Movie Channel in April. The contest was open to both professional and amateur actors, attracting more than 70,000 contestants.
Pacific Rim ‘designed to advance US cultural domination of China’
Chinese newspaper publishes a piece suggesting Guillermo del Toro’s film is part of a US propaganda drive
Ben Child theguardian.com, Wednesday 28 August 2013 12.14 BST
- Guillermo del Toro sci-fi romp Pacific Rim is a conduit for US cultural domination of China, according to a member of the People’s Liberation Army writing in a state-backed daily newspaper that is seen as a mouthpiece for the country’s military.
- But rather than embracing the movie as an example of China’s increasing box office clout, the People’s Liberation Army Daily this week published a polemic arguing that Pacific Rim was just another Hollywood movie designed “as a propaganda machine to convey American values and their strategies in the world”. Bylined with the name of a PLA officer, Zhang Jieli, the comment piece referenced elements of Del Toro’s pleasingly barmy plot, which sees pairs of humans teaming up in giant bipedal attack units to fight off invasion by enormous alien monsters, to posit an elaborate conspiracy theory. “The decisive battle against the monsters was deliberately set in the South China Sea adjacent to Hong Kong,” Zhang wrote. “The intention was to demonstrate the US commitment to maintaining stability in the Asia-Pacific area and saving mankind.”
- The Chinese military is currently concerned over US plans to transfer 60% of American naval assets to the Pacific by the end of the decade. Zhang added: “Soldiers should sharpen their eyes and enforce a ‘firewall’ to avoid ideological erosion when watching American movies. More importantly, they should strengthen their combat capability to safeguard national security and interests.”
Chinese e-car set for ‘Transformers’ movie debut
By Samuel Shen and Norihiko Shirouzu SHANGHAI/BEIJING | Fri Sep 13, 2013 3:15am EDT
- (Reuters) – A Chinese-made car is set to make its international movie debut in the fourth “Transformers” film next year in a product placement aimed at raising the profile of Chinese models abroad. The Trumpchi E-jet, a sleek, plug-in electric hybrid developed by state-owned Guangzhou Automobile Group Co Ltd (GAC), will feature in “Transformers: Age of Extinction”, the fourth in the popular movie franchise due for release in mid-2014, said two people close to GAC, based in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou.
- The “Transformers” series has previously featured other Chinese brands, including PC and TV makers Lenovo Group Ltd and TCL Corp, and Meters/bonwe, a leading leisurewear brand. The movies are among the most popular to be released in China, with “Transformers 3, Dark of the Moon” grossing $165 million in 2011.
Time Warner and China Media Capital Form Strategic Investment Partnership
BusinessWire · Jun. 6, 2013 | Last Updated: Jun. 6, 2013 9:01 AM ET
- Time Warner Inc. (NYSE:TWX) and China Media Capital (CMC), China’s leading investment fund focused on media and entertainment, today announced the formation of a strategic investment partnership. The announcement was made in the western Chinese city of Chengdu, where top business leaders convened for the 2013 Fortune Global Forum.
- The alliance pairs the world’s leading video-focused content company, home of such businesses as Warner Bros., HBO, and Turner Broadcasting, with the preeminent investment platform in China dedicated to the media and entertainment sector. The goal of the partnership is to capitalize on China’s rapidly expanding media sector as digital devices proliferate and China’s demand for high-quality content across multiple platforms rises.
Man of Tai Chi
- Man of Tai Chi is a 2013 Chinese-American martial arts film directed by and starring Keanu Reeves. The film is Reeve’s first in a directing role. Man of Tai Chi is a multilingual narrative, partly inspired by the life of Reeve’s friend, stuntman Tiger Chen.
China’s movie industry courts global audience
Could China’s growing influence in Hollywood affect Christian-themed movies?
By Hollie McKay Published June 18, 2013
- “Christianity in China has long has been associated with Western imperialism and the authorities regard U.S. evangelism, in particular, with some suspicion,” Beijing-based entertainment attorney Mathew Alderson told FOX411’s Pop Tarts column. “Religious matters are handled by the State Administration of Religious Affairs and the involvement of that authority would be likely if a film were to touch on religious matters.”
- “Christian-themed movies are generally shunned by the Chinese film authorities,” Robert Cain, a veteran producer and longtime liaison between Hollywood and China, told FOX411’s Pop Tarts column. “I doubt any of the studios would bother submitting them.”
- “As much as American filmmakers want their freedom of expression, it comes down to money. The film industry is a business, and with China set to be the number one in the film market in the near future, Hollywood needs to look out for themselves,” explained entertainment litigation attorney, Dr. Dariush Adli of Adli Law Group P.C. “Films will continue to be censored according to Chinese guidelines and even created according to these rules. All foreign films, dealing with anything from religion to gambling, have to be screened and pass the test of China’s State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT). This means that many studio productions are modified or refused completely. Until rules and regulations are changed on SARFT’s end, Christian films will always have a hard time passing Chinese censorship.”
‘Iron Man 3′ Criticized for Scaling Back Chinese Actors’ Screen Time
12:46 PM PDT 4/25/2013 by Clarence Tsui
- the Chinese scenes are only fully utilized in the Chinese version
- bloggers and media reports have also taken note of the absence of the sequences shot in Beijing in December
- they were not pleased and wanted more
‘Dark Knight’ producer to make big-budget films with Chinese company
Reuters 2013-05-31 15:45:37
- “The Dark Knight Rises” producer Thomas Tull will join with China’s largest film production and distribution company to make big-budget films for release throughout the world, Tull’s Legendary East studio said on Thursday.
- The Chinese company, China Film Co, is majority-owned by state-owned China Film Group, Legendary East said.
- Legendary East and China Film did not identify planned film projects or the amounts each side would contribute to the joint venture, other than to say they plan to fund “multiple pictures over an initial three-year term.”
Hollywood scripts for Chinese audience
Film company president: “Transformers 4” to center on China
English.news.cn 2013-05-31 19:49:32 By Xinhua writers Du Jie and Pang Yuanyuan
- The head of a Hollywood production company said “Transformers 4” will not only be set in China, but will also feature a China-centric theme. “The film has a great deal to do with China. Effectively, China is a character in it,” said Marc Ganis, president of Jiaflix Enterprises.
- The three agreed that the movie will feature a number of Chinese actors and actresses, with a public casting competition launched to select potential stars. Well-known actress Li Bingbing has already been confirmed to play a significant role in the film. “So much of the movie takes place in China and the character she plays is a Chinese national. So it’s a very natural position for her to have,” Ganis said.
- “Transformers 4” will take a different approach than “Iron Man 3,” which had a special Chinese version featuring extra footage starring Chinese actors. However, many Chinese felt that the extra parts were too contrived. “There is going to be a single version (of the film) worldwide with a very significant Chinese component,” Ganis said.
Hollywood Descends on China for Beijing International Film Festival
2:10 AM PDT 4/16/2013 by Clarence Tsui
- Helen Chen (the managing director of the Beijing Film Market) said the convergence of American heavyweights at the event is proof of the importance of China as a player in international cinema. “The most important reason for this is that the Chinese film market is becoming larger and larger – and more and more people focus on the Beijing Film Market,” she said, referring to the much-quoted MPA report last month crowning China as the second-biggest film market in the world.
- Keanu Reeves will debut the trailer for “Man of Tai Chi”
- Lucasfilm will sign a “big co-operation agreement” with a Chinese technological company
- Paramount Pictures says next in Transformers franchise will be a co production with Chinese participation, with Chinese cut shot in China with local actors
- Jean-Jacques Annaud and Wolfgang Petersen will be signing co production agreements
- details will be revealed on “3d Imperial city – Beijing”, collaboration of James Cameron, Vice Pace’s Cameron Pace Group and several Chinese companies
U.S. Box Office Heroes Proving Mortal in China
By MICHAEL CIEPLYAPRIL 21, 2013
- In the first quarter this year, ticket sales for American movies in China — including films as prominent as “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” and “Skyfall” — fell 65 percent, to about $200 million, while sales for Chinese-language films rose 128 percent, to well over $500 million, according to the online publication Chinafilmbiz.com.
- But if the preferences of Chinese moviegoers continue to shift to domestic releases, China will maintain control of its own film market just as Hollywood was ready to seize it.
- Still, executives and China watchers here suspect something potentially more threatening to Hollywood: a rapid evolution in the tastes of Chinese audiences, which are quickly turning away from the spectacles American companies have assumed they crave
- But lately, Mr. Gelfond acknowledged, the shift toward domestic films has been “dramatic.” In early 2012, he said, American studios did well in China partly because the available Chinese films lacked audience appeal. Later, he noted, Chinese officials delayed the release of “Skyfall” and “The Hobbit” until those films had played elsewhere, which allowed video pirates time to put a dent in the potential audience.
‘Transformers 4’: Paramount to Cast Chinese Actors Via Reality TV Show
12:53 AM PDT 4/18/2013 by Clarence Tsui
- HONG KONG – Having announced plans in early April for Transformers 4 to be a Chinese co-production involving the inclusion of some Chinese content, Paramount Pictures has now gone one step further in shaping the project along Chinese lines – by casting its Chinese roles through a reality television show, one of the most popular forms of entertainment in the country.
- The show is set to commence broadcast in China in June 2013, with a panel of judges comprising Sid Ganis, the former head of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences and the current chairman of Jiaflix; the film’s producer Lorenzo DiBonaventura and casting director Denise Chamian; Paramount’s marketing and distribution chief Megan Colligan.
- Producers said the four winning contestants will join “a number of talented Chinese actors and actresses” in Transformers 4. The third film in the franchise, Dark of the Moon, generated $165 million in China, and stands fourth in the country’s overall box-office rankings behind Avatar, Lost in Thailand and Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons.
Robert Downey Jr promotes ‘Iron Man 3’ in China
11:54 AM Sunday Apr 7, 2013
- At a news conference on Saturday, Downey – who reprises the role of Tony Stark in the upcoming movie – said he’s fascinated with Chinese culture and loves Chinese movies, while urging the local audience to see the superhero film.
- DMG chairman Xiao Wenge said introducing Chinese culture to the world is a core mission of his company. China also is a major overseas market for Hollywood movies.
Robert Downey Jr. performs WingChun in Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
- Sifu Eric from Los Angeles, USA who has trained Robert Downey Jr. for years in WingChun Kung Fu, again worked with the actor, as he did on the very first “Sherlock Holmes” movie to achieve his character’s fighting style. He choreographed all of Robert Downey Jr.’s fighting scenes in the movie.
Robert Downey jr. – WING CHUN
Michael Mann’s New Film to Feature Sino-U.S. Anti-Hacking Task Force (Exclusive)
8:58 PM PDT 4/9/2013 by Clarence Tsui
- The as-yet-untitled, partly Hong Kong-set cyber-thriller will see American and Chinese agents teaming up to pursue a common adversary hailing from the Balkans.
- The rep is responding to a report published in a Hong Kong newspaper Tuesday about Mann’s location-scouting and casting trip to the city during the weekend. In the Apple Daily article, the film was said to center on a pair of Chinese hacker siblings, and Mann had met with local A-listers Tang Wei, Nick Cheung Ka-fai and Shawn Yue Man-lok for the roles.
Paramount, China Movie Channel to produce “Transformers 4”
Tue Apr 2, 2013 4:07pm EDT
- LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Viacom Inc’s Paramount Pictures said on Tuesday it reached a deal with the government-run China Movie Channel and its online movie service partner, Jiaflix Enterprises, to produce “Transformers 4” in China.
- China Movie Channel said in the joint announcement that the deal marks the first time it will work with a western studio to produce a film in China, although other studios such as Walt Disney Co have entered deals with other parties to produce films there to tap the booming Chinese box office.
Brad Pitt zombie movie re-edited for Chinese market
World War Z will get a second cut to remove reference to China as source of undead attack
Ben Child guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 2 April 2013 09.58 BST
- Conscious of China’s growing importance as a market for US fare – the country recently became the world’s second-largest nation in terms of box office revenue behind the United States – executives decided on the move to avoid the ire of Chinese authorities. Hollywood films are routinely released in the world’s most populous nation with offending material excised from the final cut: James Bond movie Skyfall arrived in January with references to Chinese torture of British agents and a scene in which a hitman shoots a Chinese bodyguard in Shanghai removed or revised. Other films that have recently been cut for Chinese release – either by censors or their studios – include fantasy opus Cloud Atlas and the 2010 remake of The Karate Kid.
- Paramount has reportedly changed a scene in World War Z during which characters discuss the source of the outbreak that caused the zombie apocalypse, and point to China. “It’s not a huge plot point,” a source told TheWrap. “But it’s safe to say [they’re] going to want a release there.”
China Escapes the Zombie War
April 5, 2013 By Ben Shapiro
- “the detail would not have merited discussion at the top echelons of the studio. But given the fast-rising prominence of the Chinese market, state censorship and the quotas for US releases, the studio advised the movie producers to drop the reference to China and cite a different country as a possible source of the pandemic, an executive with knowledge of the film told The Wrap.”
- This is not the first time that film scripts have been changed in order to please the Chinese. Iron Man 3 has also been chopped for the benefit of Chinese audiences – and at least in this case, a Chinese actor was added. Red Dawn, which was slated to feature the Chinese as the US-invading baddies, was altered so that the North Koreans would drop onto American soil. The Karate Kid remake went under the scalpel, too, so that Chinese bullies wouldn’t appear quite so mean.
Marvel Releases ‘Iron Man 3’ Trailer for China
1:17 AM PST 3/7/2013 by Clarence Tsui
- The tweaked Asia-targeted trailer (below) closely resembles the U.S. original, but offers additional glimpses of Chinese actor Wang Xueqi and actress Fan Bingbing, along with a scene of Iron Man taking flight amidst cheers from a group of Chinese schoolchildren in front of Beijing’s historic Yongdingmen gate.
Why Hollywood kowtows to China
Posted by David Cox Monday 11 March 2013 14.24 GMT
- Red Dawn is the reboot of a cold war thriller that’s much cherished in some quarters. Back in 1984, when the original appeared, the aggressor could only have been the Soviet Union. With the new film comes a new commie bogeyman – but it was not supposed to be North Korea. These days, it’s not so much Kim Jong-un’s eccentric dictatorship that makes Americans tremble, it’s their newfound rival for superpower status, China. So, MGM’s re-imaginers decided to reallocate Russia’s role to the Chinese People’s Republic. Fancifully enough, they envisaged Beijing “repossessing” an America that had defaulted on its huge Sino debt. However, this storyline didn’t go down well in China. When excerpts of the script leaked out in 2010, they prompted the headline “US reshoots cold war movie to demonise China” in the Beijing-based, 1.5m-circulation Global Times. Buyers told MGM that distributing Red Dawn in China would prove problematic. So the studio decided on a change of tack.
- Nowadays, any such potential transgressions are usually nipped in the bud. When censors objected to a bald Chinese pirate in Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, he was edited out of the film’s Chinese version. Footage was similarly removed from Men in Black 3 because unpleasant aliens had dared disguise themselves as Chinese restaurant workers. In the Chinese version of Skyfall, references to prostitution and corruption in China were removed or obscured in opaque subtitles. All mention of the torture inflicted on Javier Bardem’s villain when he was an MI6 agent in Hong Kong was carefully expunged.
- Accommodations like these are not enough for some film-makers, who opt instead for proactive ingratiation. The setting of large sections of Looper was transferred from Paris to Shanghai. In Battleship, it’s Hong Kong that is credited by Washington with divining the alien origins of the earth’s attackers. The 2010 remake of The Karate Kid saw the young hero’s family turned into importunate migrants leaving decaying Detroit to seek a better future in thriving Beijing. In spite of the film’s title, the all-conquering martial art becomes kung fu instead of karate, and the fount of all skill, wisdom and fortitude is an altogether Chinese kung fu master.
- It seems to pay off. Looper, like The Karate Kid a co-production with a Chinese partner, was gifted a much sought-after Golden Week holiday release; all-American blockbusters such as The Amazing Spider-Man and The Dark Knight Rises are often forced to play against each other to stop them squeezing out indigenous productions. Audiences, as well as the authorities, seem to appreciate a Hollywood kowtow. In disaster epic 2012, a White House staffer lavishes praise on Chinese scientists when an ark they’ve designed saves civilisation. At this point in the proceedings, filmgoers sometimes rose to deliver a spontaneous standing ovation.
Marvel To Issue China-Only ‘Iron Man 3′ Version In Addition To Hollywood’s
By NIKKI FINKE, Editor in Chief | Friday March 29, 2013 @ 9:30am PDT
- The big news today is that Marvel Studios is releasing two versions of Iron Man 3. The Chinese version is destined to be a hot collectors’ item while fanboys will have a field day dissecting every frame that’s different from the Hollywood version of the Robert Downey Jr film. This third installment of the billion-dollar franchise is scheduled to be released in the U.S. and China on May 3, 2013. It will be distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures in almost all territories worldwide except China where it will be distributed by Chinese distributor DMG Entertainment.
China Film Market Set To Take Over Hollywood
By Mark Stone, China Correspondent 3:25am UK, Saturday 16 February 2013
- The country already boasts what is claimed to be the largest film studio in the world. Hengdian is a three-hour flight south of Beijing. Twenty years ago it was a tiny farm village. Now it is bigger than Universal and Paramount Studios combined. “Forget about Hollywood, here we can have 40 separate productions at the same time,” Zeng YuLin, the spokesman for the studio tells me.
- Hengdian is the sight of the largest film studio in the world
- Immaculately dressed in the uniform of a 1930s policeman, Dao was on his fifteenth take of the morning. In a brief break, he told us about Hengdian. “It’s getting better every day,” he said. “There’s still a way to go before it is at an international standard like Hollywood. But it is getting better and better.”
- Anything remotely political is off limits, which explains the somewhat cliched subject matter of everything we saw at Hengdian.
- The censorship also has an impact on western production houses who want access to the Chinese market. All films shown in China are checked by the censorship department. Skyfall, the latest Bond film, was released in China in January but only after one plot thread was altered and another scene was cut altogether. Part of the film is made in Shanghai but one scene in which a Chinese security guard is shot dead in a skyscraper lobby has been removed.
Inquiry Into China Film Trade Unnerves Hollywood
By MICHAEL CIEPLY Published: February 17, 2013
- Last March, word reached several studios of a confidential inquiry by the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Justice Department into possible violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act by people or companies involved in the China film trade.
- At a discussion in August sponsored by the Beverly Hills Bar Association, some panel members said deal-making had been complicated by the investigation. This concern was repeated in recent interviews by people involved in the Chinese-American film trade, though only on the condition of anonymity to avoid attracting the attention of regulators.
- The legal concern is arising precisely as Chinese consumers — once presumed to be an easy audience for American-made films like “Skyfall” or “The Dark Knight Rises” — have been showing a preference for homegrown, Chinese-language blockbusters.
- Those include the comedy “Lost in Thailand,” which surpassed American films to collect more than $200 million in China’s theaters after it opened last year, and the action-fantasy “Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons,” which had sales of $50 million in its first four days this month
- Last April, people briefed on the inquiry said virtually every Hollywood company with significant dealings in China had been notified in prior weeks of the inquiry into possible violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which forbids American companies from making illegal payments to government officials or others to ease the way for operations abroad.
- In the meantime, business has moved forward on projects like “Kung Fu Panda 3,” a Chinese coproduction from DreamWorks Animation, and “Iron Man 3,” which Marvel, a Walt Disney Company unit, has shot partly in China.
Iron Man cuts a deal with China: Tony Stark’s devices in Iron Man 3 to bear TCL logo
Kirsten Acuna, Business Insider, Special to National Post | Jan 17, 2013 1:05 PM ET
- Everything from Tony Stark’s motion panel device to his smart TV and mobile handsets will be from the Chinese company.
Cloud Atlas censored in China: 40 minutes of film, including sex scenes, cut
Sarah MacDonald | Jan 22, 2013 6:37 PM ET
- The film premiered in China Monday night, at a length roughly 30 minutes shorter than its original. According to reports, Cloud Atlas was censored by Chinese authorities in adherence to rules of the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television. These massive cuts were made without the help of the film’s three directors, Andy and Lana Wachowski and Tom Tykwer.
- Some scenes that hit the cutting room floor include intimate sex scenes and expository sequences. Those intimate scenes are thought to include the romance between two same-sex characters, Robert Frobisher, played by Ben Whishaw, and Rufus Sixsmith, played by James D’arcy. Same-sex relationships are is still a taboo in the country.
China-Hollywood Connection Changes Movie Business
Mike O’Sullivan January 25, 2013
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Why Hollywood is getting cozy with China
Laura Kane Published on Thursday November 29, 2012
- American producers are racing to tap the booming Chinese box office — and China, too, is warming up to Hollywood after decades of isolation. But as the two countries begin to make movies together, hurdles such as cultural differences, censorship and protectionism become apparent.
- “When I started looking at the rise of the Chinese industry in 2004, the (U.S.) studios were for the most part losing money hand over fist,” he said. “Now, in a very short period, they are making more money at the box office in China than in any other market outside North America.”
- China’s box office is the fastest-growing in the world, set to overtake the U.S. by 2020, according to a new study. For the first time in several decades, China beat Japan in 2011 as Hollywood’s largest foreign market.
- Co-productions are not part of the import quota, and the U.S. partner can earn up to 45 per cent of the box office returns. Naturally, they come with strings attached: they must feature Chinese content, hire Chinese actors and be pre-approved by the China Film Co-Production Corporation, a subsidiary of the state-run film studio China Film Group.
- “I don’t think anybody could have imagined we would be where we are today,” Yang said. “It’s unprecedented on many levels. Hollywood has never had to reach out so far to understand another market.”
- The Chinese tendency is to put their best foot forward, showing only the good qualities of themselves or their society, she said. The notion of a hero suffering personal failures on his path to greatness is nearly unheard of. “It takes a little doing to get them to understand that sometimes, by just showing what’s good, it’s not showing what’s good.”
Why More Movie Theaters in China Could Be Bad News for Hollywood
8:00 AM PST 12/7/2012 by Clarence Tsui
- While short-term gains are certainly there to be had, mainland insiders say that more movie screens in China will be a major boon to local producers hoping to outsmart Hollywood through tailor-made content targeted at regions that had once been off limits.
- “Once China reaches the threshold of, say, 20,000 screens, there will be films that are specifically targeted to certain cinemas in the country,” he said. “China has its own domestic productions, and they must now find a way to [be competitive].”
- Just last week, two state-backed studios –China Film Group and Shanghai Film Group — applied for IPOs on the Shanghai Stock Exchange. The move is widely seen as an attempt to shore up infrastructure (read: cash) to bolster regional productions.
- Elsewhere, the recent success of a local release could be a harbinger of things (while giving Hollywood pause): Ning Hao’s summer title Guns N’ Roses, a heist movie set in northeastern China in the 1930s, scored at the box office with characters mostly conversing in dialect from the region. Despite half the number of screenings of Titanic 3D or The Avengers, the film managed a box-office take of more than $25.1 million.
- After all, China produces more than 600 domestic releases every year. A Hollywood blockbuster, Zhang says, “will be like an elephant attacked by 50 monkeys.”
Is China exerting an undue influence on Hollywood films?
June 12, 2012 | 5:05 pm
- MGM, the studio behind the upcoming remake of the 1984 action movie “Red Dawn,” digitally altered the invaders attacking the U.S. to make them North Koreans instead of Chinese, even though they were written and shot as Chinese.
- In Columbia Pictures’ disaster movie “2012,” the White House chief of staff extols the Chinese as visionaries after an ark built by the country’s scientists saves civilization. The scene caused some in the West to roll their eyes, though it garnered ovations in Shanghai.
- For its new film “Iron Man 3,” Marvel is shooting in China and working with Chinese interests to add “a local flavor [that] will enhance the appeal and relevance of our characters in China’s fast-growing film marketplace.”
- When aliens besiege Earth in Universal Pictures’ new action film “Battleship,” they attack, of all cities, Hong Kong. Washington then credits Chinese authorities with identifying the invaders.
Oscar-winning director James Cameron takes 3-D film venture to China
By Michael Martina, Reuters August 8, 2012 1:02 PM
- Oscar-winning director James Cameron said on Wednesday that he will open a joint venture in China to provide 3-D filming technology, the latest move by Hollywood to secure a foothold in the country’s booming movie industry.
- “We’re not going to tell Chinese film makers how to make movies. We are going to help them make a transition to 3D production technology as cost effectively as possible, and in a way that doesn’t inhibit creativity,” he said.
- “This is a huge investment for us, as much in sweat equity … as it is financially,” he said, noting that initial projects to “build muscle” will focus on 3-D films highlighting Chinese cities.
James Cameron’s 3D China venture
By Gabrielle Jaffe August 8, 2012, 7:35 a.m.
- “Our fantasy is that China will set the path and the rest of the world will look and say, ‘They’re going straight into 3D production,'” said Cameron.
- Five of China’s top-grossing films in 2011 — all of them American made — were in 3D. “Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon,” for which CPG provided the 3D technology, was also a hit in the Middle Kingdom. Out of the movie’s $350 million in box office receipts worldwide, $168 million came from China.
- Cameron expressed his frustration with studios in the U.S., which are sometimes reluctant to shoot film in native 3D: “We are used to bashing our heads against the wall with studios,” the director said. “Take a movie like’Spider-Man,’for example. They’ll spend a couple of hundred million dollars on that film but they won’t shoot it in 3D that has real depth to it. Or … they’ll convert it and think they are saving a couple of million dollars but they come out with an inferior product.”
DreamWorks Animation’s ‘Kung Fu Panda 3’ to be China co-production
By Richard Verrier August 6, 2012, 7:04 p.m.
Disney to join animation initiative with China
By David Pierson and Richard Verrier, Los Angeles Times April 11, 2012
- Disney will offer its expertise in areas such as story writing and market research to help develop local Chinese talent, the company said in a statement.
- The agreement announced Tuesday unites the Burbank entertainment giant with an animation arm of China’s Ministry of Culture and China’s largest Internet company, Tencent Holdings Ltd.
- “Our philosophy is to operate as the Chinese Walt Disney Company and as such will remain front and center to help local creative talent realize their dreams and help to create one of the most dynamic original animation industry sectors in the world,” Stanley Cheung, managing director of Disney China, said in the statement.
- “Right now [the Chinese] need expertise in terms of telling stories, using technology and doing animation,” Rosen said. “This is a way for the Chinese to succeed overseas.”
Disney making ‘Iron Man 3’ with Chinese partner as Hollywood expands China ties
By Associated Press, Updated: Monday, April 16, 7:48 AM
- “We know Chinese audiences love Iron Man. So we are going to add Chinese elements and a Chinese story into Iron Man 3,” Disney’s general manager for Greater China, Stanley Cheung, said at a news conference.
- The communist government wants Chinese studios to learn from Hollywood and is trying to attract foreign studios to form ventures by promising more market access and a bigger share of ticket sales.
- For the past decade, China’s state-run film distributors have allowed in only 20 foreign films per year for national distribution. The foreign share of ticket sales is limited to a range of 13.5 to 17.5 percent.
- “This cooperation will be very important to both countries, China and the United States,” said Dan Mintz, DMG’s CEO and a cofounder. “This film will be shot together with Chinese partners.”
‘Men in Black 3’ censored in China
By Steven Zeitchik Los Angeles Times Jun 01, 2012
- At least three minutes of Sony’s sci-fi comedy have been excised for its Chinese theatrical run, according to a person with knowledge of the matter who was not authorized to speak about it publicly. The offending moments take place in New York’s Chinatown. They include a Chinese-restaurant shootout between evil aliens and Will Smith’s Agent J and Tommy Lee Jones’ Agent K — the aliens are disguised as restaurant workers — as well as a moment when Smith’s J “neuralyzes,” or memory-wipes, a group of Chinese bystanders.
- Chinese law limits the number of Hollywood movies that can be shown in its theatres, prompting studios to be unusually careful about any China-related content they include in their films. In this case, Sony learned of the Chinese government’s objections after the film had been completed.
- This is hardly the first time a Hollywood movie has been altered for their mainland release. A moment in Mission: Impossible 3 featuring laundry hanging in Shanghai, for instance, was removed before the film was shown in China. Scenes of the Hong Kong actor Chow Yun-fat playing a villain in Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End were also expunged. Studios are sometimes proactive in removing scenes themselves. MGM changed in post-production the nationality of villains in its upcoming Red Dawn reboot, digitally transforming them from Chinese to North Korean.
To Get Movies Into China, Hollywood Gives Censors a Preview
By MICHAEL CIEPLY and BROOKS BARNES Published: January 14, 2013
- America notions of free expression do not apply
- “Any movie about China made by outsiders is going to be very sensitive,” said Rob Cohen, who directed “The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor,”
- Life of Pi had a little pushback over “religion is darkness” line. it was modified so as not to offend
- even without Chinese elements, studios are asking Chinese officials if there would be any censorship issues
- in Mr. Cohen’s Dragon Emperor movie, emperor name had to be fictionalized, should not resemble Mao, had an issue with white westerners saving China.
- the Karate Kid 2009 ran into issues with the villain being Chinese
- Steven Soderbergh, whose film “Contagion” was shot partly in Hong Kong, said the participation of China’s censors simply added to the chorus of input that surrounds every big-budget filmmaker.
- “I’m not morally offended or outraged,” Mr. Soderbergh said. “It’s fascinating to listen to people’s interpretations of your story.”
‘Skyfall’ Censored: China Chops Scene, Alters Dialogue of Bond Film
Posted: 01/17/2013 10:12 am EST | Updated: 01/17/2013 10:12 am EST
- According to the Hollywood Reporter, a scene in which Daniel Craig’s James Bond kills a Chinese security guard was spliced from the film. The altered dialogue appears later in the film, when Bond asks Severine (Berenice Marlohe) about whether or not she was forced into child prostitution. Curiously, the movie’s audio is reportedly intact, with invented subtitles that don’t match the spoken words.
- It’s not uncommon for Hollywood blockbusters to get a facelift before screening in China. Kate Winslet’s breasts were famously censored before “Titanic 3-D”