By Joy Jones
China’s economy may be slowing down, but their film industry is speeding way up. It’s doing so well in fact that analysist believe China’s film industry will surpass that of Hollywood within the next three years. Now they’ll need a catchy name. Let’s see? There’s Hollywood, Bollywood, and Nollywood. Chollywood doesn’t really role off of the tongue. How about The People’s Film Republic of China. PERFECT! Okay so The People’s Film Republic of China… They’ve been putting out some great films, the highest grossing being a live action CGI film titled Monster Hunt. The family friendly film exceeded the previous highest grossing film in China; which was Furious 7, coming in at $400 million in local gross. In addition, China’s film industry has grown 40% between 2003 and 2011. This means The People’s Film Republic of China is growing ten times faster than entirety of the North American film industry.
So why does this matter? Hollywood is still the world super power of movie production, right? Yes and No. The fact that a film (like Monster Hunt) produced entirely in China exceeded more than five major U.S. imported films, means The People’s Film Republic of China may not need Hollywood anymore – Hollywood may need The People’s Film Republic of China! Hollywood has already started branching out into the Chinese market to boost domestic production and sales. This is largely done through partnering and casting with Chinese industry leaders. Kung Fu Panda 3 will be produced partly in China, using Chinese animators and designers, from Oriental DreamWorks – a new Shanghai-based animation studio. Withal, there’s no need for panic! There’s no sign of Hollywood disappearing altogether. While The People’s Film Republic of China is growing at an alarming rate the two industries will need each other to market global products and increase sales.
It’s notable to mention The People’s Film Republic of China is planning to add 9,500 theaters and 53,000 screens by 2017. Maybe it’s just me, but won’t it be hard to see the screens with all that smog blocking the way? Don’t get me wrong this is all great and good. History has shown film is a great way to bring people together and reflect on the human experience, still I have my doubts. It’s no secret China is a super conservative nation and I am not yet convinced they will allow The People’s Film Republic to stray far from their hands of censorship. American film makers are currently playing ball and have conformed to China’s standards, but feel good family films and government approved comedies can only take you so far.
Still, for some reason their sudden desire to dominate the global film industry feels like an irrational and unnecessary power grab. Much like Russia’s sudden desire to start a second space race despite their current involvement in the Syrian War. China? Don’t you have more pressing matters to attend to at the moment? There’s an extreme age and gender crisis and extensive environmental issues, but instead they’ve decided to focus their time and energy on becoming number one for film production.
I guess Norma Desmond of Sunset Blvd. was right. Everyone wants to be a star. “Mr. DeMille… China is ready for their close up.” Hollywood Watch out!