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Opening up of film market leads to vibrancy


Source: China Daily    Published: 2019-5-8

Editor's Note: Hollywood superhero blockbuster Avengers: Endgame generated record box office during the just-ended May Day holiday. Two experts share their views on the competition between domestic movies and Hollywood films in China's film market with China Daily's Liu Jianna. Excerpts follow:

China can become a global film powerhouse

Avengers: Endgame, the 22nd film of Marvel Cinematic Universe, has made more than $2 billion globally with over $576 million, nearly a third of the total, being contributed by the Chinese market.

The percentage of Hollywood films contributing to China's box office has witnessed a gradual decline in recent years thanks to the rise of successful Chinese films including The Wandering Earth and Dying to Survive.

Due to its explosive growth in third-and fourth-tier cities, the Chinese movie market is certainly poised to become the largest in the world in the not too distant future. Last year, China's total box office exceeded 60 billion yuan ($8.9 billion), gradually closing the gap with the United States whose box office was about $11.6 billion. China has become such a formidable force in the global film industry that international film producers cannot afford to overlook it.

As the world's second-largest movie market with a growth rate of more than 9 percent three years in a row, the Chinese film market is extremely open and inclusive with outstanding movies from around the world, fine works of Hollywood in particular, being screened in China even before they are shown in other countries.

This shows China's decision to open up its film market in the trough in 1995 was absolutely right. Since then the quota for Hollywood movies has been significantly raised from the initial 10 films a year. The opening up of the Chinese movie market proves that the more open and inclusive a film market is, the higher the number of good films it will generate owing to the active and beneficial exchanges with the world's most advanced filmmaking countries.

The remarkable performance of about a dozen Chinese movies in recent years makes it clear that well-made films that showcase Chinese culture and touch Chinese people's hearts could not only become smash hits but also help spread Chinese culture. Which gives us hope that China could become a global movie powerhouse in the future, even though Chinese filmmakers have to hone their skills and give life to attractive and meaningful stories on screen in order to compete with the world's best.

Zhang Yiwu, a professor of Chinese literature at Peking University, senior fellow of Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University

Filmmakers should focus more on publicity

That China has produced some excellent films, including the Red Sorghum, Farewell My Concubine and The Wandering Earth, while allowing foreign films to be screened in the country demonstrates both its cultural inclusiveness and independence, without which the Chinese movie market could not have become so vibrant.

In some sense, China has made more marked achievements in reforming and developing its film industry than most other countries, including India that is known for its Bollywood films. This fact is attested by Chinese films' soaring box office and increasingly impressive performance at major international film festivals including the Berlin International Film Festival, Cannes Film Festival and Venice Film Festival.

But there is still a wide gap between the Chinese film industry and the European and US movie industries, be it in the art of filmmaking or in the publicity strategies and methods. That some Hollywood filmmakers spend nearly half of their budget on publicity and advertising should give Chinese filmmakers some food for thought, especially since some Chinese movies, despite being well made and highly rated by movie critics and viewers alike, fail at the box office.

A wine-maker needs to get people to know his wine is good to make his business a success, so do Chinese filmmakers.

Li Guomin, adviser to China Film Association and Changchun Film Group Corporation

Key Words: film   opening-up   Endgame   Zhang Yiwu  

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