×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

China Aims to Become ‘Strong Film Power’ Like U.S. by 2035, Calls for More Patriotic Films

The Chinese government has exhorted filmmakers to turn the country into a “strong film power” like the U.S. by 2035 and called for the production of 100 movies a year that each earn more than RMB100 million ($15 million) as part of a push to increase China’s soft power.

The targets were set by Wang Xiaohui, executive deputy director of the Central Propaganda Department and director of the National Film Bureau, at the first nationwide industry symposium since the former agency took jurisdiction over the latter. Government officials, film scholars, representatives of major film companies and industry associations gathered in Beijing on Wednesday for a symposium that set the tone for the future development of China’s industry with the propaganda bureau in the driver’s seat.

The names of luminaries such as directors Chen Kaige, Zhang Yimou, Ning Hao, Guan Hu, and Huang Jianxin, as well as actors Zhang Ziyi, Wu Jing, and Chen Daoming, were on the list of attendees, according to the People’s Daily newspaper, the mouthpiece of the ruling Communist Party.

Wang was named head of China’s film bureau last May, following a major government restructuring. He said that a major concern is that “the international influence of Chinese film still has such a long way to go.” Last year, American films took in about $2.8 billion in the China market, but Chinese films in the U.S. market made only a few tens of millions. With its massive local box office, China had already become a “big film power,” but it needed to shift to becoming a “strong film power” like the U.S. by 2035, he said.

“China has already taken its place at the center of the world stage, and Chinese films must have their proper place in the world,” Wang said, according to the People’s Daily. “But the Chinese film industry’s current level of development is not commensurate with China’s national status. A country’s level of film development reflects its total national strength.”

He said that the biggest problem facing the Chinese film industry was one of quality. “Overall, our ability to tell stories lags far behind Hollywood and Bollywood’s,” Wang said.

The 100 films a year that gross more than $15 million each should be “about realistic topics” and must “equally generate social impact and financial profits,” he said. They should take “the Chinese dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation” as their theme and have “patriotic plots.”

Filmmakers “must have a clear ideological bottom line and cannot challenge the political system.” Cultivating new film artists was “extremely urgent and important,” as a lack of talent has so far been a big setback, he added.

In a summary of last year’s industry performance, Wang called for the country to consolidate production capacity on profitable projects. In 2018, homegrown Chinese films accounted for a record 62.15% of the total local box office. But the money brought in was disproportionately earned by the top 10 grossing films, with just 2% of Chinese theatrical releases bringing in 53% of the box office. Meanwhile, 300 out of the 400 movies shown last year brought in less than 1 million RMB, while hundreds more never even made it to cinemas, indicating wasted resources.

Thanks to scandals involving high-profile actors that resulted in film-release cancellations, Wang also announced that China would establish a “national film industry ethics committee.” Most recently, the Chinese New Year romcom “A Boyfriend for My Girlfriend” was pulled because of a scandal involving the lead actor and his mistress, while earlier in the year, a tax-evasion case involving actress Fan Bingbing caused her forthcoming works to disappear. China set up a similar ethics committee for the gaming industry last year.

More Film

  • Yalitza Aparicio as Cleo, Marco Graf

    Alfonso Cuaron’s 'Roma' Nabs Nine Nominations for the 6th Premios Platino

    As was widely anticipated, Alfonso Cuaron’s triple Oscar-winning “Roma” dominated the 6th Premios Platino nominations, unveiled Thursday at Hollywood’s legendary Roosevelt Hotel, the site of the very first Oscars. It snagged a total of nine nominations, including best film, director, art direction, cinematography, and acting for its two Oscar-nominated actresses, Yalitza Aparicio and Marina de [...]

  • Stephen Bruno

    Stephen Bruno Exits Netflix for Top Marketing Job at MGM

    Netflix global marketing chief Stephen Bruno has exited his post for MGM, where he has been named chief marketing officer. His departure follows that of Netflix CMO Kelly Bennett and marks a major shake-up for the streaming giant. Bruno had been with the streamer since 2014, and is known as an innovator. He joins MGM [...]

  • Laura Linney Cast in Viggo Mortensen

    Laura Linney Joins Viggo Mortensen's Family Drama 'Falling'

    Laura Linney, Hannah Gross, and Terry Chen have joined the cast of Viggo Mortensen’s family drama “Falling.” The movie will be Mortensen’s directorial debut. He’s also producing, wrote the screenplay, and is playing one of the two leading roles in a story about a son’s relationship with his aging father. Production is currently underway in Toronto. [...]

  • Maya Erskine-Jack Quaid Romcom 'Plus One'

    Maya Erskine-Jack Quaid Rom-Com 'Plus One' Sells Ahead of Tribeca Premiere

    Romantic comedy “Plus One,” starring Maya Erskine and Jack Quaid, has sold to RLJE Films in a pre-emptive deal for low seven figures ahead of its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival. “Plus One” is written and directed by Jeff Chan (“Adam Ruins Everything”) and Andrew Rhymer (Pregame). The film also stars Ed Begley, [...]

  • Alan Horn Disney

    Walt Disney Studios Leaders Say Fox Deal Represents 'Exciting New Chapter'

    Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn and President Alan Bergman are asking Fox staffers to be patient while the company begins the complicated work of integrating the two motion picture teams. Both men were on Fox’s Century City lot for meetings with executives. In a memo, Bergman and Horn said they would try to be [...]

  • DOHA, QATAR - MARCH 17: DOHA,

    Doha Film Institute's Qumra Wraps, Bolstering Status as Top Arab Cinema Event

    The Doha Film Institute’s unique Qumra workshop wrapped its fifth edition on Wednesday following six days of masterclasses, labs and mentoring sessions that bolstered the DFI’s status as the prime entity fostering Arab filmmaking and connecting directors from most of the region with the rest of the world.  Programmers from Cannes, Venice, Toronto, Berlin and [...]

  • Tribeca Film Festival'Venus in Fur' film

    Tribeca Film Institute Honors 14 Films With Grants in Tribeca All Access Program

    The Tribeca Film Institute has announced the 14 films to be honored with grants at the 16th annual Tribeca All Access program, which amplifies stories from underrepresented voices. Seven films and seven documentaries will earn grants from the program to aid their productions, many of them having not received previous funding. The filmmakers will attend [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content