Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Further Inroads into Hollywood for China's Communist Party and Its Censors

Now that Hollywood has mostly figured out how to get its biggest movies approved for release in China,
write Brooks Barnes and Amy Qin
studio marketers here are grappling with a new puzzle: What is the best way to woo China’s ticket buyers?
The New York Times article goes on to write about 
a company with enormous reach that few people outside of China have ever heard of: Mtime [which] is effectively Fandango, IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes and Yahoo Movies rolled into one.
But of course the true gist lies in the fact that "Hollywood has mostly figured out how to get its biggest movies approved for release in China," and that includes script approval for Hollywood movies. Because it is not enough that Chinese Film Studios Are the Planet's Largest, Mass-Producing Films Designed to Build a Positive Image of the Country). No,
the truth is that anti-Americanism rears its ugly head in even the most innocent-looking children's (or family) fare
produced in… the United States, we wrote two years ago, with examples galore (from Kung Fu Panda 3 to Iron Man 3—all submitted to Chinese censors—via… Kung Fu Panda 2), in a post entitled Hollywood's Offerings Promise Only to Get More Anti-American

Now, from Brooks Barnes and Michael Forsythe, we learn that the
Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group, which already owns the AMC chain of multiplex cinemas, is poised to buy a majority stake in a Hollywood production company that makes blockbuster-style movies, giving the politically powerful company with close ties to the Communist Party’s ruling elite a foothold in the heart of America’s entertainment industry.
We learn further that 
the deal makes sense for both Wanda and Legendary, which tends to produce the type of big-budget, special-effects-driven movies that Chinese audiences like. In addition to owning AMC, Wanda controls the biggest cinema chain in China, where box-office receipts are set to eclipse the North American market in coming years. Wanda, a company owned by Wang Jianlin, China’s richest man, can provide Mr. Tull with money, a growing audience and a champion in China that can get more of his films into the tightly controlled market.

… The deal, earlier reported by Reuters, deepens Wanda’s foray into the movie production business. Wanda made a splash in 2013 when it announced the construction of a mammoth, $8.2 billion studio in eastern China, flying in stars like Leonardo DiCaprio and Nicole Kidman for the occasion.

 … Wanda’s investment also makes sense politically for its chairman, Mr. Wang, a former military officer who is carrying out the Communist Party’s goal of deepening China’s influence in the global entertainment industry. As many of China’s most powerful families, including relatives of President Xi Jinping, have bought shares in Wanda, the Legendary purchase furthers Mr. Wang’s importance to the country’s political elite at a time when some of the country’s richest businessmen are falling victim to Mr. Xi’s anticorruption campaign, now entering its fourth year.

Related: Hollywood's Offerings Promise Only to Get More Anti-American