Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. 24/7 Space News .

China moviegoers show Hollywood the money
by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) Jan 18, 2013

Ten new movie screens open each day in China as the popularity of cinema soars in the country, but the appeal of Chinese films has failed to maintain the pace.

Box office receipts jumped 30 percent last year to 17 billion yuan ($2.7 billion), lifting China up to become the world's number two cinema market behind the United States, figures last week showed.

Yet foreign titles took the bulk of the money, scooping up just over half the revenue in 2012 despite facing an annual cap of only 34 releases -- while Chinese filmmakers produced 893 films last year.

"The successful movies are nearly all Hollywood blockbusters," said Pen Kang, a researcher for the Hong Kong Baptist University Academy of Film.

"Chinese domestic films have no advantages compared to these Hollywood films. The production standards and technology are less advanced."

China only increased its foreign movie quota from 20 in 2012 after long pressure from Hollywood and the World Trade Organization. As a result foreign films edged out domestic ones in ticket sales for the first time in a decade, taking 51.5 percent of the total.

Naxin Ping, who manages an antique shop in Beijing, said she went to the cinema several times last year, watching both foreign and domestic titles including "The Amazing Spider-Man", "Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol", martial arts film "The Grandmaster" by Hong Kong director Wong Kar Wai and "Renzaijiongtu", a Chinese comedy. "That's my taste," she said.

She is typical of China's growing middle-class population willing and able to pay the relatively high price of movie tickets -- around $13 -- that has made Chinese theatres such an attractive market.

The country's leading property group Wanda became the world's biggest cinema owner last year after acquiring US company AMC for $2.6 billion.

But State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) vice minister Tian Jin in November urged domestic filmmakers to "enhance creativity", saying their movies faced tremendous pressure and needed to be more competitive.

In recent years Hollywood blockbusters such as "Avatar" and "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" have brought in whopping sums, though the low-budget Chinese comedy "Lost in Thailand" unexpectedly upended them last month to become the country's biggest-ever box office hit.

But Robert Cain, a producer who has worked in China for 25 years, pointed out that it was among the successful domestic movies that "drew large audiences in China because they released at times when Hollywood movies were blocked out of Chinese theatres".

Mega blockbusters such as the latest James Bond movie "Skyfall" and the widely anticipated "The Hobbit", based on the JRR Tolkien novel, hit cinemas around the world last year but have 2013 release dates in China -- by which time many potential viewers will already have seen them on pirated DVDs.

Just as Chinese movies have lagged domestically, they have also struggled to garner significant popularity or renown abroad, despite being the world's third most prolific film industry according to SARFT.

And despite being the world's most populous country, China has failed to produce anything with the global cultural impact of South Korean singer Psy's "Gangnam Style" or Indian musician Ravi Shankar, who died in 2012.

President Hu Jintao acknowledged last year that China's soft power had not kept pace with its growing political and economic stature, saying: "The international influence of Chinese culture does not correspond with the international status of China."

But Rance Pow, an industry analyst who heads the consultancy Artisan Gateway, was optimistic that domestic filmmakers would steadily improve.

"Chinese films remain on course to produce commercial hits not only for the China market but for international audiences as well," he said.

The difficulty comes in part from the censorship that China exercises over film and other cultural productions.

The Communist Party imposes strict rules over what films are allowed to be seen by the public, banning what it considers any negative portrayal of contemporary politics or issues it says might lead to social unrest.

In an open letter last month award-winning Chinese director Xie Fei said the censorship system had "become a corrupt black spot for controlling the prosperity of the cultural and entertainment industry, killing artistic exploration and wasting administrative resources".


Related Links
Satellite-based Internet technologies

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Amazon says music catalog open to Apple users
San Francisco (AFP) Jan 17, 2013
Amazon said Thursday its 22-million song music catalog was now "optimized" for users of Apple devices, making it easier for iPhone owners to circumvent the iTunes store. The move is part of a new initiative by the Internet retail giant challenging Apple's dominance of the digital music market. "For the first time ever, iPhone and iPod touch users can discover and buy digital music from A ... read more

US, Europe team up for moon fly-by

Russia to Launch Lunar Mission in 2015

US, Europe team up for moon fly-by

Mission would drag asteroid to the moon

Choosing the right people to go to Mars

ChemCam follows the 'Yellowknife Road' to Martian wet area

Mars image suggests ancient water flow

NASA Mars Rover Preparing to Drill Into First Martian Rock

Mathematical breakthrough sets out rules for more effective teleportation

Orion Teamwork Pays Off

Unilever Buys 22 Flights On XCOR Lynx Suborbiter For AXE Campaign

Iran renews plan to send monkey into space: reports

China to launch 20 spacecrafts in 2013

Mr Xi in Space

China plans manned space launch in 2013: state media

China to launch manned spacecraft

ESA workhorse to power NASA's Orion spacecraft

Competition Hopes To Fine Tune ISS Solar Array Shadowing

Embassy Gathers Elite Group of Space Policy Chiefs

NASA, Bigelow Officials to Discuss ISS Expandable Module

Africasat-1a to launch on first Ariane 5 launch in 2013

Roscosmos Releases Report On Proton Launch Anomaly

Russia plans replacement for Soyuz rocket

Arianespace's industry leadership will continue with 12 launcher family missions planned in 2013

Earth-size planets common in galaxy

NASA's Hubble Reveals Rogue Planetary Orbit For Fomalhaut B

NASA, ESA Telescopes Find Evidence for Asteroid Belt Around Vega

Kepler Gets a Little Help From Its Friends

New surfaces repel most known liquids

Sustainable reinforcement for concrete has newly discovered benefits

ECAPS signs contract with Skybox for complete propulsion system

Boeing Grows Composite Manufacturing Capability in Utah

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement