July 17, 2006


The biggest story about the Chinese film industry story in the recent issue of Variety is the fact that it's a big story. Taking up the cover of the magazine, the article (attributed to "Variety Staff") talks about recent 15-car Hollywood pile-ups on the road to China. Citing the yanking of the DA VINCI CODE at the height of its run, the delay of MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: 3 and the fact that it's unknown whether PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN 2 will hit Chinese screens, the Variety Staff goes on to wonder if China is intentionally trying to undermine Hollywood movies playing in China in order to increase the box office of Chinese film.


I think most Chinese film industry watchers feel that China is for Chinese films first and foremost, and that SARFT (State Administration of Film, Television and Radio) is interested in pushing Chinese films before anything else. The article's key paragraph:

"While most individual instances of release difficulties for foreign movies can be attributed to plausible explanations, taken together the list of complaints looks to some like the manifestation of a policy to suppress Hollywood's B.O. in China."

Things have reached the point where the Motion Picture Association - always eager to try anything that'll help crack the Chinese market and that annoying "20 foreign films per year" cap - has commisioned an internal report to examine what's been going on. And while I don't think there's any god-given right to have your movie industry be an open market, China is a member of the WTO and as such they could face a suit regarding "restraint of trade" which could possibly be devastating and force China to either have their markets forced open on someone else's time table, or they would have to withdraw from the WTO.

But, again, there's not a huge story here - I'm sure the MPAA commissions internal studies like most of us have hot dinners. But the fact that Variety is putting this on the cover means that something around this story has probably been changing recently and while there may not be one specific news item to peg the story to, things are heating up. Developments are almost certain.

July 17, 2006 at 01:52 PM in News | Permalink


Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest eventually didn't make it.


Posted by: Sinodrom | Jul 19, 2006 2:16:40 PM

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