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Old 09.13.2010, 11:27 AM   #1
Dr. Eugene Felikson
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http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010...ival-hollywood

Quote:
Investment in film-making and cinemas is part of a bid to counter western cultural dominance





 


Customers leave a cinema in Beijing. The authorities are ramping up cinema construction to draw more audiences to screenings, in an effort to tackle film piracy. Photograph: Frederic J Brown/AFP/Getty Images

China is on course to build a record number of cinemas this year in a burst of movie infrastructure development that is partly aimed at rivalling the "soft power" of Hollywood.
Following the state-backed expansion of China's TV and newspaper industries since 2009, the government is promoting a major push of film production and distribution.
The state council, China's cabinet, has issued new guidelines for the booming industry that have helped film-makers secure bank loans and reach a wider audience.
Qiang Zhongyuan, a director with Beijing Forbidden City Film Company, says the measures have helped him to double his budget this year, which means more films and higher quality work.
"In the past we normally invested 4m-5m yuan on one movie, but now we can go for big productions costing 30m or sometimes even over 100m."
Despite the widespread piracy of films – which means illegal DVDs often go on sale within days of a new cinema release – the authorities are ramping up cinema construction to draw more audiences to screenings.
"So far this year, we have already matched the number of total theatres built last year, but we still have yet to meet the increasing demand," Zhao Shi, deputy director of the state administration of radio, film and television, said at a recent press conference.
Industry analysts says the speed of growth – a reflection of a wider economic boom as much as state policy – is so fast that China could start to overtake the US in key benchmarks.
"I am forecasting the day when China will catch up with the US in box office takings. It may happen in my lifetime, faster than we expect because of the appreciation of the yuan against the dollar," wrote Raymond Zhou, the author of a book on the economics of Hollywood, in a recent Xinhua news agency article.
He notes that, since 2004, US box office earnings have increased by just 6%, while China's have surged fourfold. "Under these circumstances, it is not inconceivable that China may buy up a Hollywood studio in the not-so-distant future," he wrote.
Such talk is reminiscent of Japan's economic heyday in the late 1980s and early 1990s, when Sony snapped up Columbia studios.
Although that purchase shook many in the American film industry, it did not herald a transformation of Hollywood, nor did it prove a game-changing projection of Japanese cultural power.
China's ambitions, however, are more strategic. Last year the government reportedly injected 4bn into Xinhua, state broadcaster CCTV, and the People's Daily newspaper in a move to strengthen the country's media voice. All of these organisations have subsequently ramped up their English language content in a bid to counter what is widely seen in Beijing as a biased western media and an overly strong advocacy of western values.
Xiang Yong, deputy director of the Institute for Cultural Industries at Beijing University, sees the promotion of the domestic film industry in the same light.
"There's a saying that Hollywood is the real foreign ministry of the US, which shows the importance of the movie industry," Xiang said.
"From a cultural perspective, the promotion of the movie industry is an important way to strengthen the soft power of our country."



I'm excited. Hollywood could definitely use the competition. Plus, I'm interested in seeing what type of flicks China plans on releasing.
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Old 09.13.2010, 11:30 AM   #2
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the soft power of our country?
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Old 09.13.2010, 11:39 AM   #3
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It's not that different to the Indian film industry, which produces more films per year than the US. The challenge will be not if China can rival Hollywood in terms of production and domestic popularity but whether it can challenge them in terms of exporting its films overseas. As huge as Bollywood is, it rarely draws audiences outside of India - besides those ex-pat Indian communities that exist in other countries. Hollywood's strength is less in the number of films it produces than in their near global popularity, which is something I suspect China (like India) will find far harder to match.
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Old 09.13.2010, 11:46 AM   #4
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ha, not a chance. they can bootleg like no other though (poor morality).
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Old 09.13.2010, 11:52 AM   #5
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It may not be able to rival Hollywood in terms of exports but then the more popular a non-American country's domestic cinema is with its own audience, the less global dominance Hollywood enjoys.
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Old 09.13.2010, 02:59 PM   #6
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chinese film can put out some wonderful stuff beloved around the world, like crouching tiger, which was a worldwide success

however, more totalitarian narratives like that of "hero" don't play out so well abroad in spite of the gorgeous visuals. the wish-fulfillment story of capitalism is that the overlord gets killed by the rebels (e.g. star wars), whereas in the chinese epic the assassin sacrifices himself "for the unity of the country" once he realizes that the "evil emperor" brings "peace" (order). not sure about that. that kind of thing plays well in china but not in the west.
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Old 09.13.2010, 03:49 PM   #7
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Considering the total population of China alone is 4x that of the total population of the US, I don't see a problem with China's film industry challenging Hollywood. That's not counting the 4 million Chinese who live in the US. In fact there are 40 million Chinese living overseas. Hollywood's fucked.
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Old 09.13.2010, 07:23 PM   #8
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what happened to the hong kong film industry? has that been absorbed by mainland china since the 1998 hand over?
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