Viewpoint

03.08.19

Here’s How the Trade War Is Affecting Hollywood

Ying Zhu
In February 2017, the United States and China began renegotiating the five-year film pact that had limited the annual number of foreign film exports to China to 34 and the share of revenue payable to foreign-rights holders to 25 percent of gross box...

Chinese Audiences Will Not See Disney’s New Movie Starring Notorious Outlaw Winnie the Pooh

Marissa Martinelli
Slate
Christopher Robin, which is already in theaters in the U.S., is the second Disney movie to be rejected in China this year, following A Wrinkle in Time. Another source told THR that Christopher Robin was not...

‘Black Panther’ Sparks Debate over Anti-Black Racism in China

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
The seemingly sharp fall in attendance prompted Western media outlets to write a series of articles that suggested Chinese moviegoers objected to Black Panther because of its all-black leading cast. “A torture for the eyes: Chinese moviegoers think...

Culture

03.23.18

What Chinese High School Students Learn in America

Jonathan Landreth
In 2011, when a rural prep school in Maine invited New York-based director Miao Wang to screen her first film, Beijing Taxi, she was surprised to find so many Chinese students enrolled at the archetypal New England establishment. Not Chinese-...

Box Office: Will ‘Black Panther’ Conquer China?

Patrick Brzeski
Hollywood Reporter
At nearly $900 million worldwide and counting, Marvel’s latest is a certified historic hit, but Ryan Coogler’s blockbuster faces a final challenge to “conventional wisdom” in the world's second-largest film market...

China Box Office Surges 39 Percent in First Two Months of 2018

Patrick Brzeski
Hollywood Reporter
China is once again rapidly closing the gap with North America, still narrowly the world’s largest film market.

Media

01.24.18

China’s Animated Underbelly

Jonathan Landreth from China Film Insider
A tousled-haired young man in a third-tier Chinese city is desperate to fix the botched plastic surgery done on his fiancée’s face. At knifepoint, he steals a satchel of one million yuan from a local gangster, setting off a chain-reaction of greed...

A Life-Size Replica of the Titanic Is under Construction in China’s Countryside

Rob Schmitz
NPR
The film moved Su Shaojun, the developer overseeing the project, so much that when he became a developer 15 years later, he proposed building a resort and theme park featuring a replica.

Americans Can’t Agree If They Loved or Hated ‘the Last Jedi.’ but China Definitely Hated It

Bloomberg
Fortune
“Star Wars: The Last Jedi” brought in an estimated $28.7 million in its opening weekend in China, coming in below its two predecessors in the world’s fastest-growing market.

Culture

01.05.18

Reflections on ‘Youth’ and Freedom—A Conversation with Feng Xiaogang and Yan Geling

The movie “Youth” is the first collaboration between Feng Xiaogang, the celebrated Chinese director, and prolific novelist Yan Geling. It is a semi-autobiographical coming-of-age story about the time both spent in the People’s Liberation Army during...

Mulan: Disney Casts Chinese Actress Liu Yifei in Lead Role

BBC
Disney has picked Chinese actor Liu Yifei to play Mulan in an upcoming film, following accusations against Hollywood of ‘whitewashing.’

This Year's Oscar Contenders from China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan Are the Perfect Lens into the Places They're From

Josh Horwitz
Quartz
The Oscar nominations coming from Taiwan, Hong Kong, and China have not attracted much buzz internationally, but each region’s submission touches on issues in that capture the ambitions, desires, and insecurities of its people. Taken as a trio, they...

‘Dunkirk’ Conquers China's Box Office

Gaochang Zhang
Los Angeles Times
The World War II rescue tale “Dunkirk” dominated the box office in China last week, building on its international success.

In China, an Action Hero Beats Box Office Records (and Arrogant Westerners)

New York Times
The success of the two-hour film, Wolf Warrior 2, featuring a red-tinged Rambo named Leng Feng, is being seen in China as a pointer to the national mood after almost five years under Xi Jinping, the president. Mr. Xi has promoted a spirit of hawkish...

Patriotic Action Film Set to Break China Blockbuster Record

Tom Hancock
Financial Times
A patriotic Chinese action film whose tagline is “whoever offends China will be hunted down wherever they are” is poised to become the country’s highest grossing film to date.

Chinese High School Pupils Make a Film Tackling LGBT Issues

Eva Li
South China Morning Post
A group of high school students in Beijing has made a film about the life of a transgender boy in a bid to raise public awareness of the issue, local media reported. The 75-minute production, titled Flee, tells the story of Zhang Wangan, a...

Have a Nice Day, Chinese Gangster Animation, Blocked in France

Stephen McDonelll
BBC
The makers of a cutting-edge Chinese film that was pulled from the world's premier animation festival following government pressure from Beijing say they still hope the movie will get a run in cinemas at home later this year...

Sinica Podcast

05.26.17

Chinese Power in the Age of Donald Trump

Jeremy Goldkorn, Kaiser Kuo & more from Sinica Podcast
When Joseph Nye, Jr., first used the phrase “soft power” in his 1990 book Bound to Lead: The Changing Nature of American Power, China did not factor much into his calculus of world order: It had relatively little military and economic power, and...

For a Change, China’s Censors Have No Problem with “Gay Moment” in Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast”

Echo Huang
Quartz
Unlike other Asian countries, China says it has absolutely no problem with a plotline involving a possibly gay character in Disney’s re-boot of Beauty and the Beast.

Books

03.16.17

Hollywood Made in China

Aynne Kokas
China’s entry into the World Trade Organization in 2001 ignited a race to capture new global media audiences. Hollywood moguls began courting Chinese investors to create entertainment on an international scale—from behemoth theme parks to blockbuster films. Hollywood Made in China examines these new collaborations, where the distinctions between Hollywood’s “dream factory” and Xi Jinping’s “Chinese Dream” of global influence become increasingly blurred. With insightful policy analysis, ethnographic research, and interviews with CEOs, directors, and film workers in Beijing, Shanghai, and Los Angeles, Aynne Kokas offers an unflinching look at China’s new role in the global media industries. A window into the partnerships with Chinese corporations that now shape Hollywood, this book will captivate anyone who consumes commercial media in the twenty-first century. —University of California Press{chop}

Conversation

02.23.17

Can China Expand its Beachhead in Hollywood?

Stanley Rosen, Ying Zhu & more
With The Great Wall, a classic army vs. monsters tale, director Zhang Yimou has brought America the most expensive Chinese film ever created. The movie may be backed by a Hollywood studio and it may star no less an American icon than Matt Damon, and...

China Is Mad About Hollywood Remakes

Lillian Lin
Wall Street Journal
Aiming to crack new frontiers in China, Hollywood studios are turning to something familiar: established American films and TV series that can be remade for Chinese audiences.

How ‘Bambi’ Got Its Look From 1,000-Year-Old Chinese Art

Daniel McDermon
New York Times
The Chinese-American artist Tyrus Wong, who died last week at 106, was an incredibly accomplished painter, illustrator, calligrapher and Hollywood studio artist. But as Margalit Fox wrote in her obituary for Mr. Wong, “because of the marginalization...

China’s Film Fever Cools

Wayne Ma and Erich Schwartzel
Wall Street Journal
China’s highflying box office got a reality check in 2016, as cutbacks in discounted tickets led to a sharp decline in cinema-revenue growth

“Messy, Mindless, Illogical”: Chinese Moviegoers Review “Great Wall”

Josh Horwitz and Echo Huang
Quartz
One of the most hyped-up film productions of the year is shaping up to be a box office success, and a critical bomb

As 'The Great Wall’ Hits Theaters in China, Hollywood is Watching

Erich Schwartzel
Wall Street Journal
Movie industry sees $150 million picture starring Matt Damon as harbinger for future U.S.-China co-productions

The Great Wall: China Takes on the World with New Matt Damon Film

John Sudworth
BBC
Despite a long tradition of movie-making, and much critical acclaim for its directors overseas, China has never yet produced a truly global blockbuster

Two Movies China Desperately Wants to Hide

Jeff Jacoby
Boston Globe
In China, prisoners of conscience are literally being butchered. These films take a look inside China's organ harvesting market. ...

China Passes Law to Ensure Films ‘Serve the People and Socialism’

Alan Evans
Guardian
First law governing the country’s film industry targets box-office fraud and says film-makers must have excellent moral integrity

Culture

11.04.16

A New Comedy Looks Back at a Bygone Beijing

Jonathan Landreth
The forthcoming Mandarin-language comedy King of Peking takes the viewer back to Beijing in 1998. The sooty rooms, the boxy automobiles of just a few makes, models, and colors, and the alleyways crammed with shops hawking cheap home cooking and...

Red Star Over Hollywood: ‘Dr. Evil’ Says China Wants Movies

Anousha Sakoui and David McLaughlin
Bloomberg
Lobbyist questions companies’ motives in U.S. takeovers: ‘You will never see a Chinese villain in the movies’ again

China’s Rising Threat to the U.S. Movie Industry

Richard Berman
Politico
With firms like Dalian Wanda gaining influence in the U.S., would a war movie called South China Sea ever play in one of Wanda’s theaters?

Humanizing the China-Africa Relationship with Film

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
When independent filmmaker Carl Houston Mc Millan was growing up in the tiny southern African country of Lesotho, he saw firsthand the effects of China’s surging engagement in Africa. Even in this remote country, embedded within South Africa, far...

The People in Retreat

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
Ai Xiaoming is one of China’s leading documentary filmmakers and political activists. Since 2004, she has made more than two dozen films, many of them long, gritty documentaries that detail citizen activism or uncover whitewashed historical events...

Sinica Podcast

08.31.16

What Is Cultural About the Cultural Revolution? Creativity Amid Destruction

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
This year marked the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the Cultural Revolution, a chaotic decade of Chinese history made infamous in the West through books such as Wild Swans and Life and Death in Shanghai, which describe in horrific detail the...

A New Language for Chinese Film

J. Hoberman from New York Review of Books
Kaili Blues, an eccentric, remarkably assured first feature by the young Chinese director Bi Gan, is both the most elusive and the most memorable new movie that I’ve seen in quite some time—“elusive” and “memorable” being central to Bi’s ambitions...

Move over Captain America, "Captain China" Is on the Way

Zheping Huang
Quartz
Joe and Anthony Russo, directors of the Marvel franchise’s last two films, will co-produce China’s own version of Captain America.

China Is Pretending That Hong Kong’s “Best Film” Award Winner Doesn’t Exist

Josh Horwitz
Quartz
Ten Years, the film about growing anxiety that Beijing is eroding HK's freedoms, is unlikedly to be released in China...

Media

03.29.16

‘River Town’ the Movie

Jonathan Landreth from China Film Insider
Not since Iron and Silk premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 1991 has a movie based on a memoir about teachers on the front lines of U.S.-China relations come to the big screen. Director Shirley Sun’s mostly-English-language film adaptation of...

Michelle Yeoh on 'Crouching Tiger 2,' Girl Power, and Anti-China Trump

Jan Yamato
Daily Beast
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon 2 still tells a very Chinese tale.

China Box Office Breaks World Record With $548M in One Week

Patrick Brzeski
Hollywood Reporter
The seven-day haul is more than the Chinese box office generated for the entire year a decade ago.

Infographics

02.08.16

Box Office Success: Money Rules

from Sohu
In 2014, Chinese annual box office earnings exceeded 29 billion RMB. As of July of this year, box office sales had reached 25.9 billion. Chinese films keep smashing box office records, and surpassing 100 million in sales has become a bare minimum.{...

Media

02.02.16

When Push Comes to Shove—Movies, China, and the World

Jonathan Landreth from China Film Insider
The moviemaking dance the United States is doing with China is picking up pace. The Asian giant’s audience influence is soaring as estimates show that Chinese box office returns could overtake American ticket sales this year or next. Parity in...

Culture

01.05.16

In ‘Mr. Six,’ China’s Changing and Staying the Same

Jonathan Landreth from China Film Insider
Playing an aging gangster railing against the “little punks” who kidnapped his son in Beijing, Feng Xiaogang gives a solid performance as the title character of Mr. Six: a gravel-throated vigilante shaken when his go-it-alone rescue effort puts him...

Chinese State Media Hits Back at Claims of Racist 'Star Wars' Poster

James Griffiths
CNN
"Finn (who happens to be black) and Chewbacca (happens to be Wookiee) get shafted in China."...

China Box Office: 'Spectre' Has the Competition Shaken and Stirred

Abid Rahman
Hollywood Reporter
It took a while, but James Bond finally won over Chinese audiences as Spectre, the 24th film in the franchise.

China's Dream Factory

Willy Shih and Henry McGee
Atlantic
The long arc of moviemaking history may not bend inevitably toward China, but it does lead away from Hollywood, whose rise and long dominance of the film industry was predicated on a series of conditions that no longer exist.

Media

11.10.15

Chinese Hits Miss Out on the Global Box Office

Jonathan Landreth from China Film Insider
If he’d had the time after meeting American captains of industry in Seattle and Barack Obama at the White House, Chinese President Xi Jinping might have ducked out at the close of his United Nations appearance and into a New York movie theater to...

Culture

11.04.15

Zhang Yimou: ‘Even Though Our Market Is Growing Fast, We’re Still Not Satisfied’

Jonathan Landreth
Hollywood has Steven Spielberg and China has Zhang Yimou, the senior statesman of moviemaking in the People’s Republic. From Red Sorghum, his 1987 debut right out of the Beijing Film Academy, through Hero, which grossed more in America in 2002 than...

In ‘The Assassin,’ a Director Blends the Fantastical and the Realistic

MEKADO MURPHY
New York Times
The director has made a film rooted in martial arts, but with imagery and settings that make “The Assassin” feel almost painterly.

China Box Office: 'Lost in Hong Kong' Surges Past $200 Million

Patrick Brzeski
Hollywood Reporter
The film will soon surpass its predecessor, 'Lost in Thailand', which grossed $208 million in 2012, the most ever for a Chinese film at the time...

Culture

09.11.15

French Director’s Chinese Movie Balances Freedom With Compromise

Jonathan Landreth
In 2012, French movie director Jean-Jacques Annaud got a warm welcome in China after more than a dozen years as persona non grata there for having offended official Chinese Communist Party history with his 1997 film Seven Years in Tibet—the story of...

Alibaba Names Former Goldman Sachs Executive as President

Michael De La Merced
New York Times
Alibaba on Tuesday named J. Michael Evans, who already serves on its board, as its president.

The Melancholy Pop Idol Who Haunts China

Hua Hsu
New Yorker
Teresa Teng’s influence is particularly powerful in China, which her parents had fled after the revolution.

China’s Film Industry Is Gaining on Hollywood

Bilge Ebiri
Businessweek
Chinese audiences are growing, more theaters are being built, and the movies are getting better.

China Box Office Booms with $284-Million Week; Foreign Films Remain Shut Out

Julie Makinen
Los Angeles Times
The depth and variety of local films suggests growth in China’s domestic production.

CAA China’s Leader on Censorship, Why China Needs a Global Hit and Translating for Spielberg

Clifford Coonan
Hollywood Reporter
The first U.S. talent agency with full-time representation in China marks 10 years in Beijing.

Culture

06.01.15

Chinese Writers and Chinese Reality

Ouyang Bin
My first encounter with Liu Zhenyun was in 2003. At the time, cell phones had just become available in China and they were complicating people’s relationships. I witnessed a couple break up because of the secrets stored on a phone. I watched people...

China’s Invisible History: An Interview with Filmmaker and Artist Hu Jie

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
Though none of his works have been publicly shown in China, Hu Jie is one of his country’s most noteworthy filmmakers. He is best known for his trilogy of documentaries about Maoist China, which includes Searching for Lin Zhao’s Soul (2004), telling...

Star Wars to Screen in China for First Time Ever

Time
The Shanghai International Film Festival will screen the original six films.