China’s Film Success Spurs New Int’l Co-operation Talk

Understanding China's audiences improves

LOS ANGELES — Chinese films’ recent burst of homegrown success did not fail to impress, but Chinese and U.S. executives also found plenty of reasons to talk of co-operation Tuesday.

“In China today we have a dynamic, young, thriving industry,” said Ellen Eliasoph, head of Village Roadshow Asia, speaking at the 4th edition of the US-China Film Summit in Downtown Los Angeles. “There is lots of money, tons of movies, audience age has dropped to an average of 21, they are internet savvy and we have a great multiplex infrastructure.”

“Our research shows a growing audience preference for Chinese movies,” said Amy Liu, VP of research firm Ent Group.

Film-maker Janet Yang pointed to the success of fantasy movies rooted in traditional Chinese tales, such as “Painted Skin” and “Detective Dee,” while CAA China head Jonah Greenberg pointed to others with a new-found Chinese taste for nostalgia such as “So Young” and “American Dreams In China.” “What this is telling me is that we’ve got a new generation of young people able to afford movie tickets,” he said.

After running through forecasts of screen and audience growth through the next ten years, and predicting the emergence of a film rating system over the next ten years, Bona Film Group CEO Yu Dong said: I want to find US film-makers to help us tap this market, using foreign capital is cheaper than borrowing from Chinese banks.”

Stanley Rosen, professor of Political Science at USC, and Orville Schell, director of The Asia Society voiced the day’s most cautionary notes. Rosen warned that very few Chinese language movies have achieved international success, making it difficult to find strong co-production material.
Schell said that China wants respect, admiration and to make money, and that it also wants to project its soft power. But he also questioned the compatibility of a creative industry with government and censorship. “When China find itself, it will find the power it seeks,” he said.

Other panelists including Orb Media’s Peter Shiao, Galloping Horse’s Ivy Zhong and Le Vision Pictures CEO Zhang Zhao were quick to point out that the massive use of social media and the internet in China is allowing film-makers in China to have unprecedented insight into what Chinese audiences really want.

“It is the right time to find some co-productions between China and the U.S., and there are great opportunities for the culture business. We need to grab these opportunities,” said Ye Ning, VP of Wanda Cultural Industries, part of the giant Wanda group that last month set out its international ambitions with a huge party in Qingdao, studded with Hollywood A-listers.

Still others revealed the co-operative progress that is going on out of sight. Dede Nickerson, head of production and strategic development, Sony Pictures Entertainment, China, said that her company is now developing a whole slate of films Chinese films.

More Biz

  • It

    Producer Sues Warner Bros. Over 'It' Film Adaptations

    A producer who developed the original “It” TV miniseries sued Warner Bros. on Thursday, alleging the studio breached his contract by making the films “It” and “It Chapter Two” without him. Frank Konigsberg and Larry Sanitsky were running Telepictures in the early 1980s when they acquired the rights to the Stephen King novel. They developed [...]

  • Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer

    Starz Nears Realignment: Why Lionsgate Won't Hire a CEO to Replace Chris Albrecht

    Nearly six months after Starz CEO Chris Albrecht exited in February, Lionsgate brass is moving closer to a revamp of the premium TV network’s executive structure. According to insiders, at least one thing is clear: Albrecht is not expected to be replaced as CEO. Instead, Lionsgate chief executive Jon Feltheimer is taking a more active [...]

  • Movie Ticket Subscriptions

    As MoviePass Fades, Theaters Fall In Love With Subscription Services

    MoviePass may be cratering, but movie theater subscriptions are here to stay. AMC and Cinemark already operate their own online ticketing services. And by the end of July, Regal Entertainment is expected to unveil a subscription plan for customers accustomed to getting all manner of entertainment for a monthly fee. With ticket sales down more [...]

  • John FordNPact Awards, Show, Los Angeles,

    John Ford to Exit as Head of Unscripted Producers Trade Association NPact

    John Ford has stepped down as general manager of NPact, the trade association that represents unscripted TV producers. Ford is exiting the post he’s held since 2015 because of the potential for conflicts of interest arising from his role as head of programming for digital multicast outlets Justice Network and Quest Network. The channels were [...]

  • Woodstock 50 Applies for Vernon Downs

    Woodstock 50 Applies for Vernon Downs Permit Yet Again

    For better or worse, Woodstock 50 isn’t giving up on Vernon Downs, despite being rejected twice already: The producers have applied for another permit to hold the festival at Vernon Downs, according to the Utica Observer Dispatch. Town Attorney Vincent Rossi confirmed the application was submitted Wednesday. This is the festival’s third application; previous applications [...]

  • Bert and Ernie

    Sally Field, Linda Ronstadt and 'Sesame Street' Among 2019 Kennedy Center Honorees

    Sally Field, Linda Ronstadt, “Sesame Street,” conductor Michael Tilson Thomas and R&B veterans Earth, Wind and Fire have been selected as the 2019 Kennedy Center Honorees. The kudos will be handed out Dec. 8 at the Kennedy Center Opera House in Washington, D.C. The award to “Sesame Street” marks the first time the prestigious laurel [...]

  • Jeffrey Epstein

    Jeffrey Epstein Denied Bail in Sex Trafficking Case

    Jeffrey Epstein, the high-living financier who partied and traveled with Hollywood stars and world leaders, has been denied bail. The multimillionaire businessman is accused of sexually abusing underage girls as young as 14 years old and collecting child pornography. Prosecutors argued successfully that Epstein’s wealth made him a serious flight risk. He faces up to [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content