China poised to become the world’s largest film market within the next
couple of years, industry insiders are weighing-in on what needs to be
done to capitalize on the opportunity.
Most movie industry observers expect China will overtake the United
States to become the world’s largest film market, by revenue, by 2017.
Last year, box office revenue in China hit a record high of nearly 7
billion U.S. dollars.
Greg Foster, CEO of IMAX Entertainment, says to some extent the Chinese
market is the key to success for many US movies.
The obsession is that on a P&L when a green light committee at a studio
is deciding to spend 200 million U.S. dollars to make a movie, whether
it gets into China or not really often is the difference between success
or failure.Because of this, many in the North American movie market are
taking a harder look at what needs to be done to become successful in
Lauren Selig, founder of Shake and Bake Productions, says an increasing
number of movies are being made specifically for the Chinese market."Out
of the 10 conversations that I’ve had with producers or foreign sales
agents in the last two weeks, six of them have said bring me a project
for China, I need a project for China."When it comes to tapping into the
Chinese market, Selig says Hollywood needs to have a better
understanding of what Chinese audiences want.
Lauren Selig，Shake and
We’re used to making big bang movies, big tentpole films and hoping that
when we lob them across the pond that China goes: ’Yay, we like it.’ But
it doesn’t always work out that way and I think it’s important for a
producer or director or someone who’s inclined to make movies for the
Chinese market to have a good partner over there or good voices to give
them advice on what to make.
At the same time, Chinese movie producers are also trying to create
content which global audiences are more likely to relate to.
Le Vision Pictures is one of a growing number of Chinese film companies
looking globally.Le Vision CEO Zhang Zhao says "My guess is in the next
five years because of the Chinese market booming, you will see many more
movies released in North American market. Reason, because you got backed
up by this huge market."Le Vision Pictures is behind the production of a
film called "The Great Wall" starring Matt Damon and directed by Zhang
Yimou.It’s due out later this year.
Chinese investment in the North American film sector has already gone
beyond movies.Dalian Wanda recently struck a deal to acquire a majority
stake in US movie studio Legendary Entertainment.It’s going to be
Wanda’s second big purchase in the United States.The company bought AMC,
the second biggest theater chain in the United States, for more than 2.5
billion U.S. dollars in 2012.