With the annual CineAsia convention set to get underway on December 11-13, many eyes in the film industry are looking toward China and its unprecedented rapid growth in the film exhibition sector. The country is opening no less than a handful of new movie screens on a daily basis, and with production companies seeking more financing in a strategy aimed to help bring domestic Chinese films in front of a larger audience, what does that mean for Hollywood?
The 13,000 cinemas will all welcome [Hollywood] films," says Le Vision Pictures CEO Zhang Zhao. "Once China reaches the threshold of, say, 20,000 screens, there will be films that are specifically targeted to certain cinemas in the country," he said. "China has its own domestic productions, and they must now find a way to [be competitive]."
In short, with Chinese films becoming more competitive on home field, in the years to come Hollywood will be in a position of figuring out how to maintain the explosion of success seen by recent imports such as Titanic and The Avengers this year.
China's film market is kicking off one of its busiest times of year with more than 40 films slated to release between now and mid-February. Titles already in release include Life of Pi (which is currently #1 in the country and building upon excellent word of mouth), as well as Back to 1942 and The Last Supper.
Upcoming domestic releases in December include Chinese Zodiac 12, Lost in Thailand and The Last Tycoon. But in January, Hollywood itself will be paying even closer attention when The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and Skyfall both make their Chinese debut.
The teaser trailer has been released for The Monkey King, another upcoming live-action adaptation of the classic Chinese novel Journey To The West. Directed by Soi Cheang, the film will tell the story of how the Monkey King (Donnie Yen) rebels against the Jade Emperor of Heaven.
The Monkey King co-stars Aaron Kwok, Joe Chen Qiao-En, Chow Yun Fat, Peter Ho, Faye Wong, Gigi Leung, Cecilia Cheung, and Fan Siu-Wong. The film is due for release across China on the July 4th, 2013.
The State Administration of Radio, Film and Television of China has updated its policy regarding co-productions between Taiwan and mainland Chinese films. The original agreement, signed in 2010, stated that films from Taiwan are exempt from China's film import quota.
The news today establishes that a Taiwan film is defined as one spoken in the Chinese language and where at least half of the film's crew and copyrights come from Taiwan.
With regard to co-productions between Taiwan and mainland China, the story and characters must relate to both countries and one-third of the cast must comprised of Chinese actors. Under these circumstances, the films will be subject to the same rights as a mainland Chinese film.
Zhang Pimin, the deputy director of China's State Administration of Radio, Film and Television, announced today that the country will be actively growing the number of documentaries screened in the country's theaters. Cities such as Guangzhou, Beijing and Shanghai will be among the early market test sites for the strategy.
The move will also include a push for websites, television stations and other forms of media to open additional channels in support of expanding the reach of documentaries.