China is no longer the “golden goose” of movie studios: Hollywood producer

China has always been a major source of income for the film industry – but as a country Increases censorship rulesCould Hollywood’s complicated relationship with China end?

“China was the golden goose that Hollywood was looking forward to.” [in order] To recoup some really big investment dollars, and the huge capital it takes to build these big franchises,” Chris Fenton, film producer and author of the book “Feed the Dragon” He told Yahoo Finance Live in an interview last week (video above).

Fenton explained that the relationship between Hollywood and China peaked between 2012 and 2016, but the Chinese market began to turn its back on the United States around 2018. At that time, the country’s film management regulation was set For the propaganda department of the Communist Party.

Since then, the relationship has deteriorated even more, and it has been pressured before Tense diplomatic relations between the United States and China Changing public tastes

Censorship and restrictions came to a head as a result of major titles including “Black Widow,” “Eternals,” and “Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” along with Warner Bros. “Space Jam: A New Legacy” all denied the release of China.

Famous American films denied the release of China

Famous American films denied the release of China

Reasons for denial can include anything the government deems inappropriate, such as depictions of homosexuality or content that violates the country’s socialist and nationalist values.

“Spider-Man: No Way Home” was rejected after the producers Refuse to remove Statue of Liberty from the movie, while Chinese organizers quickly refused “Top Gun: Maverick” due to the presence of the Taiwanese flag on the back of Cruise’s Captain Pete “Maverick” Mitchell combat jacket. Beijing is famous for unknown Taiwan as an independent country.

“Maverick” also had problems early in its production after Chinese production company Tencent Pictures (TCEHY), who signed on to co-finance the film in 2019, finally drop out Because of the popular pro-US messages.

Tencent reportedly believed the pro-American story would anger Communist Party officials.

“today, [China’s censorship] Probably the worst I’ve seen in my career,” Fenton revealed, adding that the Chinese market now dropped as zero For most Hollywood films – a stark contrast compared to a decade ago.

According to data cited by Artisan Gateway Consulting The Hollywood ReporterUS-made films made up more than 48% of China’s box office revenue in 2012 before dropping to 36% in 2016 and 12.3% in 2021.

Hollywood…without China?

“Top Gun: Maverick” (Courtesy: Paramount)

Hollywood is slowly starting to accept the box office without China.

“The fact that China is now not nearly as important to Hollywood is great for the creative expression of these directors,” Fenton said, citing the box office successes of both “Spider-Man” and “Maverick” that went on to secure global. receipts $1.9 billion And the 1.4 billion dollarsStraight.

“We can still make films without incorporating Chinese propaganda or narrative into it, and if it’s relevant, if it’s global then there will be consumer markets. [in China] for future films.

“But right now, we don’t have to appease Beijing with every movie we make,” Fenton added.

Hollywood has long been accused of bogging down China in order to preserve its lucrative opportunity at the box office. State boats A It has a population of 1.4 billion people with More than 600 million people They classify themselves as middle class.

“That’s a huge amount of dollars that can go after this type of content,” Fenton admitted.

Last year, the star of “Fast & Furious” John Cena It came under intense scrutiny after it apologized to China — in Mandarin — for calling Taiwan a country, underscoring Hollywood’s quest for profit.

But with China closing its doors, and political tensions continuing to rise, Fenton argued it was time for producers and filmmakers to start looking elsewhere.

Fenton pointed to India as a lucrative opportunity, as well as markets in Latin America and Africa.

“If we can crack [those markets] We are really going to start moving forward with a very strong momentum towards developing monetization of this great content that Hollywood is generating.”

Alexandra is the Senior Entertainment and Food Correspondent at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter aliecanal8193 And email it to alexandra.canal@yahoofinance.com

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