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China’s new cinematic golden age?

There's more money than ever in Chinese Films

12·09·2014

China’s rapidly expanding film industry is aiming to smash box office records for the forthcoming film season, with movies made by some of the country’s best homegrown talent hoping to be the big draws. However, it would appear that many of the big hitters seem to be sticking to the tried-and-true historical fiction genre, which has generally proven unable to transcend China’s borders.

The Spring Festival is a key box office period. According to the China Daily after the release of Director John Woo’s “The Crossing”- which opened on December 2 – the “new year film season celebration” will be followed by the release of around over 70 big-budget movies until the season ends with the Lantern Festival.

China’s film industry is rapidly expanding, a good example of this is the fact that, according to the BBC, China recently overtook Japan as the world’s second-biggest cinema market (after the US) when box-office revenues surged by 30 percent to $2.7 billion in just one year. While the US and Canada pocketed 30.4 percent of the global box office—a modest 1 percent annual gain—China is just getting started, in a recently released PricewaterhouseCoopers global entertainment and media report, “spending at Chinese box offices is likely to surge 88.5 percent, to $5.9 billion by 2018.”

Chinese authorities allow 34 foreign films to be screened in the country each year and often request changes to remove sexually explicit scenes, violence and other topics deemed inappropriate for the home audience. But China isn’t just in the business of importing Hollywood and Western films, as Xinhua news wrote:”China boasts around 2,300 production houses, releasing some 700 movies every year, ranking third in the world in terms of production capacity.”

As The Wall Street Journal Reported:

“Domestic films took in 12.7 billion RMB, or about 59% of total box-office receipts. China’s highest-grossing film by far was ‘Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons,’ a domestic action-comedy based on traditional Chinese stories, co-directed by ‘Kung Fu Hustle’ creator Stephen Chow and released in February 2013. It pulled in 1.25 billion yuan, according to Artisan Gateway, ousting the 2012 comedy ‘Lost In Thailand’ as China’s highest-grossing Chinese-language film.”

Hollywood critics are even buying into the Chinese film market. China has three entries for the Best Foreign Language Film category of the 2015 Golden Globe Awards: Zhang Yimou’s “Coming Home,” Peter Chan’s “Dearest” and Han Han’s “The Continent,” China Entertainment News reported.

Image courtesy of The Hollywood Reporter

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