All major blockbuster films come from Hollywood, but is Chinese influence dictating what is produced?
When you think of high-budget blockbuster films watched the world over, you inevitable think of Hollywood. Yet, having seen an unprecedented expansion of its film market, it is predicted that China’s movie sales will outnumber America’s by the end of 2017.
China’s extraordinary rise in the movie market coincides with a rapidly-growing middle class, creating a financial incentive for Hollywood to appeal to expanding Chinese audiences. This is not an easy industry to break into, even for large production companies: China’s international quota system sets a cap on the number of foreign films screened each year. In 2016, only 34 were allowed to be screened in the country.
While there are no strict guidelines specifying what types of movies are chosen, films that are critical of China generally won’t make the cut. This strongly affects the way blockbuster films are made.
Hollywood filmmakers have been accused of self-censoring, as well as making changes to their cast or plot lines. Popular films such as Skyfall, from the James Bond franchise, used China’s cities as beautifully scenic backdrops. The production company also cut a scene depicting 007 killing a Chinese security guard and changed a reference to a character in Chinese custody after comments by the Chinese government.
Officials in Washington have taken notice of China’s heavy influence over Hollywood, concerned that the compliant relationship could lead to more pro-Chinese propaganda films. In 2016, members of Congress wrote an open letter urging an investigation of China’s investment in America’s film industry.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Fair Observer’s editorial policy.
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