China Readies Film Promotion Law As Box Office Overtakes 2014 Total

China’s State Council, headed by Premier Li Keqiang, has approved a new draft of the long-awaited Film Industry Promotion law.

The move comes as theatrical box office for the first eight months of 2015 overtook the full year total of 2014. Gross revenues exceeded RMB 30 billion ($4.71 billion) state news agency Xinhua said, citing the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SARFT). That is a 48.5% increase on the same point in 2014 and continues the same break-neck performance as at the midpoint of 2015.

SARFT said that box office is on track to exceed RMB40 billion ($6.25 billion) this year. It also keeps China on track to overtake the North American theatrical market within three years.

Despite such growth, the industry has long argued that it is hampered by antiquated laws and regulations. And it has complained that the Film Industry Promotion law has been delayed for nearly two decades.

Having been passed by the State Council, the draft law is now up for discussion and, later, presentation for approval by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress.

When finally approved by the NPC, the laws will trigger a series of incentives covering financing, taxation, investment and land usage, all intended to encourage businesses and individuals to join the film industry.

“The law will deepen reforms of the film industry and help create a fair and well-ordered competitive market,” said film and TV director Che Jingxing, quoted by the Global Times.

Details to have emerged publicly so far are scant, though there are suggestions that the new law will introduce some new restrictions on content.

There is unlikely to be any mention of the import quota restrictions that Hollywood and a number of private sector Chinese distributors would like to see scrapped, and which are scheduled for revision in 2017. Nor is there explicit mention of the introduction of a rating or classification system for films on release.

At present, the lack of a rating system means that all films released in theaters should in theory be suitable for audiences of all ages. Current understanding is that the government wants to implement a ratings system through the China Film Distribution and Exhibition Association, an industry guild, in a fashion similar to the non-governmental Motion Picture Association’s role in the U.S.

One commentator said that the move forward with the Film Promotion law now better reflects the industry reality than it did in 2006, the last time it was previously given a major legislative push.

The irony is that now that cash is pouring into China’s film industry from sources including the Internet giants, investments funds and Hollywood – as well as ticket-buying audiences — the Chinese government is preparing to give it more money.


Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Florenc Papas on Road Movies, Ancient

    ‘Open Door’ Helmer on Road Movies, Ancient Traditions, Social Pretensions

    Albanian director Florenc Papas, an alumnus of the Sarajevo Talents program, is in competition at the Sarajevo Film Festival with his feature film debut, “Open Door.” The road movie follows two sisters, Rudina and the pregnant and unmarried Elma, who embarks on a journey to visit their strict and traditional father in the remote mountain [...]

  • Dronningen/Queen of HeartsDirected by MAY EL-TOUKHYNordisk

    'Queen of Hearts,' 'White, White Day' Among Nordic Council Film Prize Contenders

    HAUGESUND, Norway  —  Iceland’s “A White, White Day,” Denmark’s “Queen of Hearts” and Norway’s “Blind Spot” are among the five films that will compete for this year’s Nordic Council Film Prize, a prestigious film award aimed at promoting Nordic co-operation and environmental initiatives. Sweden’s “Reconstructing Utøya” and Finland’s “Aurora” help round out the list, which [...]

  • Actor Javier Bardem looking at chinstrap

    Javier Bardem on Toronto-Bound ‘Sanctuary,’ See Trailer (EXCLUSIVE)

    MADRID  — Just selected as a Special Event at September’s Toronto Film Festival, Alvaro Longoria’s “Sanctuary.” starring and produced by Javier Bardem, may need a new ending. On Aug. 19, Bardem, along with Greenpeace, addressed delegates at the United Nations in New York to urge governments to agree to a strong Global Ocean Treaty. Creating [...]

  • Bosnia's Canton Sarajevo to Launch Film

    Bosnia's Canton Sarajevo to Launch Film and TV Rebate Incentive

    Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Canton of Sarajevo is introducing a new €1 million ($1.1 million) film funding initiative next year aimed at promoting domestic and international film and television production in the region. The incentive is the first of its kind in the country. Government representatives of Sarajevo Canton, including Prime Minister Edin Forto and culture [...]

  • Antlers Trailer

    Guillermo Del Toro's 'Antlers' Starring Keri Russell Drops Chilling First Trailer

    Events take a dark turn for a small town school teacher, played by “The Americans'” Keri Russell, in the first teaser trailer for horror movie “Antlers,” produced by Guillermo del Toro. The footage, unveiled Tuesday, centers on a young boy (Jeremy T. Thomas) reading from a frightening short story he’s written as Russell listens. The [...]

  • Why Hollywood Should Tone Down Violence

    Why It's Time for Hollywood to Reconsider the Amount of Violence on Screen (Column)

    To put it mildly, we live in scary, intolerant, violent times. Since a lone gunman walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14, 2012, and killed 20 children, six adults and himself, there have been at least 2,187 mass shootings across America, resulting in the deaths of some 2,461 people and wounding more than [...]

  • James Bond Spectre

    James Bond Movie Title Revealed

    The latest James Bond adventure finally has a title. The 25th entry in the action spy series will be named “No Time to Die.” In the upcoming movie, Bond (Daniel Craig) has left active service and is enjoying a tranquil life in Jamaica. His peace is short-lived when his old friend Felix Leiter from the CIA [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content