You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

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.

Popular on Variety

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.


More Film

  • Li Shaohong

    Li Shaohong Revisits Macao and Chinese War Films

    Fifth generation director Li Shaohong’s career has spanned the entire length of the Chinese film market’s rise, from its days as a state-run industry churning out nothing but social realist films to its current stage of supporting ever more sophisticated and lucrative blockbusters and genre films. The current head of the China Film Directors’ Guild, [...]

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    Johnny Ma on the Dynamics of New Era Film Production in China

    Shanghai-born Canadian filmmaker Johnny Ma says he’d planned to make three films in China before moving on to other things, but the current state of the Chinese industry has “forced his hand” and convinced him to move on early after two. Currently living in Mexico, his next project is actually in TV: a pilot for [...]

  • 'Wonder Woman 1984' Trailer: Gal Gadot

    'Wonder Woman 1984' Trailer: Gal Gadot Returns With Pedro Pascal, Kristen Wiig

    “Wonder Woman 1984” dropped its first trailer on Sunday, with Gal Gadot returning as the titular Amazonian goddess. The film is set, of course, in the 1980s in America, decades after the first film’s events. Kristen Wiig is playing Wonder Woman’s infamous comic-book nemesis Cheetah, while Chris Pine is returning for the sequel. It’s unclear, [...]

  • Over the Sea

    Macao Film Review: 'Over the Sea'

    The beginning is a fairy tale, or a nursery rhyme. A woman nurses her squalling baby in a house by an orchard near the sea. Sunlight slants in through the open windows, the mother hums a lullaby, and then brings her son outside and places him in a cot suspended from the apple-laden branches of [...]

  • CCA Film Nominations

    Critics' Choice: 'The Irishman,' 'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood' Lead Movie Nominations

    “The Irishman” has picked up the most film nominations for the 35th annual Critics’ Choice Awards. The Martin Scorsese gangster drama goes into the awards show with 14 noms, including best picture, director, acting ensemble as well as best actor (Robert De Niro) and supporting actor (Al Pacino and Joe Pesci), the Critics’ Choice Association [...]

  • Parasite

    'Parasite' Named Best Film of 2019 by L.A. Film Critics Association

    Hollywood’s hometown critics clearly aren’t afraid of subtitles. Members of the Los Angeles Film Critics Assn. met Sunday to vote on the year’s best cinema accomplishments. South Korean thriller “Parasite” fared the best, taking not only best picture, but also the group’s director prize for Bong Joon Ho and supporting actor for Song Kang Ho. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content