Chinese cinemas are showing old propaganda movies. Is Hollywood going to lose out?
May 7, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.
Compression ratio: 25.6%. 2 min read.
Beijing has ordered China's cinemas to use the box office this year to spread propaganda celebrating the Communist Party. The country's movie fans aren't having it — and worry the new mandate is crowding out some of the Hollywood films they are clamoring for.
Hong Kong (CNN Business)Beijing has ordered China's cinemas to use the box office this year to spread propaganda celebrating the Communist Party.
The disappearance of the films — which had been remastered in time for the first movie's 20th anniversary — from theater schedules in early April took many in China by surprise.
The China Film Administration, which released the directive to promote Party-approved movies, never put out any public statements calling for Hollywood movies to be removed from theater schedules.
"The Chinese film industry is not just production studios, but also movie theaters and distributors.
It's also a sign that no matter how mighty the Chinese box office has become — it just surpassed the United States last year as the world's biggest — Western productions remain important to keeping its momentum going, especially as the industry tries to get people back in seats after the coronavirus pandemic.
"China will need those [foreign] films to continue to be the number one box office in the world, assuming the North American market recovers sufficiently," Rosen said.
It grossed nearly 26 million yuan (worth about $3 million at that time) that year, more than three times the amount achieved by the second biggest film, a Chinese production based on the 1945 Chongqing Negotiations, famous peace talks backed by the United States between the Communists and the then-ruling Nationalists vying for control of China.
As China overtook the United States to become the world's largest box office in 2020 — a milestone achieved in large part because the United States struggled to contain the coronavirus pandemic — many of the biggest box office draws were produced by Chinese studios and production companies, including last year's top film, the Chinese war epic "The Eight Hundred. " Hollywood films "Mulan" and "Wonder Woman 1984," meanwhile, flopped with audiences.
The strength and influence of the country's box office hasn't gone unnoticed by Chinese regulators, who in late March ordered every cinema to screen at least two movies promoting the Party per week through the end of 2021.
The movies will focus on themes of "loving the Party, the country, and socialism" and "singing the praises of the Chinese Communist Party, the motherland, the people, and its heroes," the China Film Administration said early last month in another statement explaining its goal.
Many of the movies the regulator approved for April are old propaganda films that were popular during the time of Mao Zedong, who led Communist China from its founding in 1949 until his death in 1976.
China's movie market still needs Western blockbusters to draw people back to cinemas, said Tan Ke, a movie sector analyst for Beijing Yiqipaidianying Culture Communication, a film consultancy company, in a recent research report.
China might have been the world's top movie market last year, but even that figure requires a serious caveat: Box office sales declined sharply to 20. 4 billion yuan ($3. 2 billion) in 2020, a third of the amount recorded in 2019.