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Thread: Chollywood rising

  1. #151
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    $4.5 b

    There's a vid report if you follow the link
    China Box Office Predicted To Hit $4.5B In 2014 Based On Latest Figures
    By NANCY TARTAGLIONE, International Editor | Friday, 23 May 2014 11:48 UKTags: Captain America: The Winter Soldier, China, International Box Office, The Monkey King, X-Men: Days Of Future Past

    China Box Office On Track For 24.7% Growth To $4.49 Billion

    Hollywood investment in China is surging, along with record box office takes in the Middle Kingdom. Dominic Patten reports.


    In the first five months of 2014, Chinese box office hit 10.2B yuan, or about $1.63B, with local movies dominating the market at 56% through May 21. Watchdog SAPPRFT released the figures today via state news agency Xinhua. Those numbers have led analysts to predict total 2014 box office could top out at a staggering 28B yuan, or around $4.49B. That would rep a 24.7% change from 2013 which ended with $3.6B. I say staggering because the numbers really do look wild, but a 24.7% increase would be slightly lower than the 27.5% jump from 2012 to 2013.

    It’s difficult to make an apples-to-apples comparison with 2013 based on the figures released today given that last year the authority provided half-year numbers in July. However, it’s worth noting that it took six months in 2013 for box office to cross the 10B yuan mark. This year, it was less than five. In the first six months of 2013, Chinese films also ruled the box office at about 61%, grossing $1.1B in the semester which had total takings of $1.79B. This was a reversal from the whole of 2012 when, much to the chagrin of SAPPRFT (then SARFT), market share had fallen to under 50% for the first time in four years.


    But U.S. movies are still doing big business in the world’s No. 2 box office territory thus far this year with five of the Top 10 hailing from Hollywood. The No. 1 movie in China to date in 2014 is the Cheang Pou-soi directed The Monkey King. The 3D and IMAX fantasy film that stars Donnie Yen opened with a record breaking first day of $20M back in January. It has grossed about $166.8M. In the No. 2 slot is Captain America: The Winter Soldier with a gross through this weekend of $116.3M. Next up is Dad, Where Are We Going?, based on the popular local reality show, with about $111.5M. The Man From Macau, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug, My Old Classmate, Need For Speed, Beijing Love Story and Despicable Me 2 round out the Top 10.


    Today sees the release of X-Men: Days Of Future Past which is expected to do strong business in China, aided by having local star Fan Bingbing in the cast. Last year’s The Wolverine, the first of the X-Men movies to enter the market, did $40.2M in box office making it the film’s strongest overseas territory. Godzilla stomps in on June 13 with about 145 IMAX 3D runs, and a likely monstrous opening.

    Gene Ching
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  2. #152
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    Doris Pfardrescher got a raise

    Maybe I should interview her again.

    Well Go USA Promotes Doris Pfardrescher To CEO, Ups Dennis Walker To CFO/COO
    By JEN YAMATO | Tuesday June 10, 2014 @ 5:19pm



    EXCLUSIVE: Indie action and genre distributor Well Go USA has promoted a new executive duo to its top ranks as the company expands. Doris Pfardrescher will serve as Well Go’s CEO after serving the company for 20 years, most recently as President. In recent years the Texas, Taiwan, and China-based distributor has widened its original focus on Asian and martial arts films to include U.S. and foreign independent films, while launching production arm Caspian Media Capital. Aiding Pfardrescher at the helm of Well Go will be Dennis Walker who moves from VP of Finance and Operations to Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer. Family-owned Well Go was previously helmed by outgoing CEO Annie Walker and CFO/COO Charlie Walker, who will still remain involved with the company.


    “Doris and Dennis have been working diligently to evolve the Well Go brand, in terms of high-quality films, brand recognition, and finding the correct ventures for future opportunities,” said Annie Walker. “They have consistently provided a bold level of strategic planning for our growth, while remaining committed to daily operational excellence, allowing us to expand into exciting new avenues for years to come.” Pfardrescher and Walker will focus on acquisitions, production, and global expansion following the Cannes acquisition of Wilson Yip and Donnie Yen’s Ip Man 3, Chinese action epic Kundo: Age of the Rampant, and Korean swashbuckler The Pirates as well as Aussie apocalypse thriller These Final Hours.
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  3. #153
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    Prepare for War

    What is it with Asia going to war over movies lately? Some one needs to make a movie about that.

    China Film Bureau Boss Urges Local Industry to 'Prepare for War With Hollywood'
    12:22 AM PST 06/27/2014 by Clifford Coonan


    The powerful government regulator urged theater owners to lessen the screen time for "Transformers: Age of Extinction" when it comes out next month, to benefit local productions.

    China Film Bureau chief Zhang Hongsen said the country's film business is at war with Hollywood and needs to dramatically up its game if it is to survive when the quota for foreign film imports is raised in four years’ time.

    “This is the year when the battle between Hollywood and China really begins. Chinese films are encountering serious challenges and 2014 is a crucial year to decide who the winner will be,” Zhang, a director at the powerful regulator, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT), told a forum on the domestic film industry.

    His comments are the highest profile acknowledgment yet of the need for the Chinese industry to raise its game to face down a growing threat from Hollywood.

    This is shaping up to be a big year for Hollywood in China, the world’s second largest market.

    Chinese movies came out just ahead of foreign films in box office last year, largely boosted by Stephen Chow’s Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons, which grossed $215 million. Donnie Yen's The Monkey King and reality TV adaptation Dad, Where Are We Going? did well during the Lunar New Year holiday in February, but since then Hollywood tentpoles have put in strong performances -- Bryan Singer's X-Men: Days of Future Past, has taken $116.49 million so far, and many believe Transformers 4: Age of Extinction could do even better than Avatar’s $221.9 million all-time China box office record.

    “With the release of Transformers 4: Age of Extinction, domestic film’s market share will fall below 50 percent,” said Zhang.

    He called on theater chain owners not to give Age of Extinction 100 percent of the screening time and encouraged them to help boost locally made product.

    “The Chinese film industry has grown 34.57 percent annually from 1 billion yuan in 2003 ($160 million) to 21.7 billion yuan ($3.48 billion) in 2013 -- just 10 years. But this is just the initial stage, not a mature stage and also not a final stage. And at a stage like this, we face serious challenges,” said Zhang.

    Hollywood has long pushed for free trade in the booming Chinese film market, and Zhang said restricting foreign movie imports to 34 titles a year will be lifted in 2017 as Beijing honors a memorandum of understanding agreement on its current quota system with the World Trade Organization in 2012, valid for five years.

    With Hollywood constantly adapting to the Chinese market, the Chinese film sector will be hurt badly, he said, so the industry has just four years to face up to challenges.

    The pressure was on Chinese films to be more diverse and of better quality. Theaters were of much higher quality now but film production levels had not kept up, he added.

    The success of Lost in Thailand, which took $200 million in Chinese theaters in 2012, inspired domestic movies and released their collective force.

    This made Hollywood think carefully about its China strategy, Zhang said. Among the cunning measures Hollywood is taking to boost its presence in China is adding Chinese elements to the movie.

    Transformers: Age of Extinction used popular Li Bingbing and heartthrob Han Geng, and young actors in the fourth installment were chosen via a Chinese reality TV show.

    Hollywood studios are also doing major promotions by sending directors and stars over to China to push the movies.

    Recent months have seen big names such as Angelina Jolie, Scarlett Johansson, Andrew Garfield and Johnny Depp come to China to promote Hollywood fare.

    Zhang said that if Hollywood films keep coming to China without any restrictions, the Chinese government will no longer be able to provide favorable conditions for the domestic industry. Also American distributors will hold all the power in terms of distribution, taking away power from domestic distributors, leading to a focus on U.S. profitability rather than domestic concerns.

    “The main point is that we need to defend and fight for our cultural territory. On the economic aspect we will have to see if we will be forced to surrender,” said Zhang.
    Gene Ching
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  4. #154
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    2014 so far

    Hollywood dominates Greater China in H1 2014
    By Kevin Ma
    Thu, 03 July 2014, 18:30 PM (HKT)
    Box Office News



    Hollywood once again dominated the Hong Kong box office in the first half of 2014.

    According to Hong Kong's Motion Picture Industry Association Ltd (MPIA) 香港電影協會, six out of the top ten films for the year are from Hollywood, with Captain America: The Winter Soldier taking the lead with HK$56.5 million (US$7.30 million).

    The top local film in the territory for the year so far is Matt CHOW 鄒凱光's Lunar New Year comedy Golden Chickensss 金雞sss, which is fifth-placed with HK$41.3 million (US$5.33 million). The other Chinese-language films on the list are From Vegas to Macau 賭城風雲 (HK$33.6 million, US$4.33 million), The Monkey King 西遊記之大鬧天宮 (HK$25.6 million, US$3.31 million) and Overh3ard 竊聽風雲3 (HK$23.6 million, US$3.04 million).

    Total box office for the first six months was HK$856 million (US$110 million), a year-on-year increase of 11.8% from HK$766 million (US$98.8 million) in the same period last year. A total of 159 films have been released, including just 25 local films.

    In China, thanks to Lunar New Year holiday hits The Monkey King, Where Are We Going, Dad? 爸爸去哪兒 and From Vegas to Macau, domestic films had a comfortable lead for the first four months of the year. However, Hollywood films had a major resurgence in May and June with X-Men: Days of Future Past, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and Godzilla.

    The Monkey King remains the top grossing film with RMB1.05 billion (US$169 million). However, it is expected to be dethroned by Transformers: Age of Extinction, which has become the second-highest grossing film of the year in just four days.

    Overall, Hollywood films – all released in 3-D — take up six out of the top ten slots. All six films are part of existing franchises. In comparison, three out of the four top local films were released in 2-D.

    Early estimates puts total box office revenue for the first six months at RMB13 billion (US$2.09 billion), with foreign films taking back the majority of the market with a 53% share. Official numbers from State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT) 國家新聞出版廣電總局 are expected to be released later this month.

    In Taiwan, Hollywood continues to dominate the box office with the exception of Umin Boya 馬志翔's KANO KANO and Lunar New Year comedy Twa-tiu-tiann 大稻埕. The former, a three-hour baseball film, is the second highest-grossing film of the year securing NT$110 million in Taipei; the latter is tenth-placed securing NT$56.4 million in Taipei.

    The other eight spots in the top ten are occupied by Hollywood films, led by Captain America: The Winter Soldier with NT$113 million (US$3.79 million). At fifth place, Edge of Tomorrow is the most successful non-franchise Hollywood film in the top ten.

    Official and reliable nationwide figures are not available.


    CHINA'S TOP 10 FILMS (UP TO 30 JUN)

    The Monkey King (RMB1.05b, US$169m)
    Transformers: Age of Extinction (RMB742m, US$119m) *
    X-Men: Days of Future Past (RMB721m, US$116m)
    Captain America: Winter Soldier (RMB719m, US$116m)
    Where Are We Going, Dad (RMB695m, US$112m)
    The Amazing Spider-man 2 (RMB585m, US$94.1m)
    From Vegas to Macau (RMB525m, US$84.5m)
    Godzilla (RMB475m, US$76.4m) *
    The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug (RMB463m, US$74.5m)
    My Old Classmate 同桌的妳 (RMB456m US$73.4m)


    HONG KONG'S TOP TEN FILMS 2014 (UP TO 30 JUN)

    Captain America: The Winter Soldier (HK$56.5m, US$7.30m)
    The Amazing Spider-man 2 (HK$54.7m, US$7.06m)
    X-Men: Days of Future Past (HK$50.5m, US$6.52m)*
    Transformers: Age of Extinction (HK$43.8m, US$5.66m)*
    Golden Chickensss (HK$41.3m, US$5.33m)
    Maleficent (HK$37.8m, US$4.88m)*
    From Vegas to Macau (HK$33.6m, US$4.33m)
    The Wolf of Wall Street (HK$31.1m, US$4.01m)
    The Monkey King (HK$25.6m, US$3.31m)
    Overh3ard (HK$23.6m, US$3.04m)*
    the gap narrows...
    Gene Ching
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  5. #155
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    Alibaba

    If you don't know who Jack Ma is, we've been following him on our Jet-Li-s-TaijiZen-International-Cultural-Development-Company thread.

    Jack Ma, Jet Li look to become Chinese 'Warner Brothers'
    2014-10-23 15:50 Ecns.cn Web Editor: Si Huan


    Photo taken on May, 2013 shows Jack Ma (right) and Jet Li (left) show up at an activity. (Photo: xinhua.net)

    (ECNS) -- Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba is looking to increase cooperation with Hollywood, according to Chinese media.

    Alibaba founder Jack Ma will reportedly lead a team of company executives, accompanied by Kungfu star Jet Li, to Los Angeles at the end of this month.

    Ma will meet with numbers of studios, including Lions Gate, Warner Bros., Paramount Pictures, Walt Disney, Universal, and Sony Corp. to seek deals that could give Alibaba the right to distribute US movies and TV shows in China, or invest in studio stakes, according to Bloomberg.

    Alibaba, who obtained the world's biggest initial public offering in September, is looking to diversify its investments into areas such as the culture and entertainment industry.

    Earlier in July, the giant cooperated with Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. to launch subscription-based video streaming services in China, China Daily reported.

    In April, it bought an 18.5 percent stake in Chinese video streaming website Youku Tudou Inc. in partnership with a private equity firm. The company also bought a controlling stake in content and media company ChinaVision Media Group Ltd. in March.
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  6. #156
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    Zhang Wei

    A new player in the Chollywood game.

    Meet Alibaba's Woman of Mystery in Los Angeles
    5:00 AM PST 11/20/2014 by Clifford Coonan, Kim Masters


    Ji Guoqiang
    Zhang (pictured in 2003) is rarely photographed, but that could change when she arrives in Los Angeles.

    Zhang Wei, a Harvard MBA and former talk-show host (she's interested in "Megan Ellison-type" films, says an insider) seems poised to head the China power's push into Hollywood

    This story first appeared in the Nov. 28 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

    She wanted to be the Oprah Winfrey of China. Instead, sources say American-educated Zhang Wei is relocating from Shanghai to Los Angeles to head an office for e-commerce giant Alibaba as it makes a much-watched incursion into Hollywood.

    In October, Alibaba founder and chairman Jack Ma described his firm — the Amazon of China, only with more money after its IPO raised $25 billion — as "the world's biggest entertainment company." He is known to be interested in purchasing American content to stream and possibly investing in American movies. But some observers believe his ambitions also include buying a stake in a U.S. studio or even acquiring one outright.

    If that's the case, Zhang, who carved out a career as a top talk show host in China before focusing on her career as an executive, appears set to be a vital part of Alibaba's plans. The company declined to respond to questions about Zhang or her L.A. move, and those who have worked with her declined to speak on the record for fear of angering the Chinese giant.

    But sources paint a portrait of Zhang as a seasoned and savvy executive. She has worked at Alibaba in various capacities since 2008, serving before that as COO in charge of TV power Star's operations in China. Though she's only in her early 40s, her résumé includes stints as managing director of CNBC China, a consultant to Bain & Co. and finance specialist for General Electric Co.

    For a time after getting her MBA at Harvard in 1999, Zhang lived her dream, working at Star (then owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.) as host of Common Ground, a talk show on Beijing TV. With the slogan, "Building a bridge between China and the world," Zhang took on topics that were considered daring, including AIDS and drug abuse. In a segment on Internet dating, an American man proposed to a Chinese woman he'd met online.

    At Harvard, Zhang was one of a dozen students from China who had left the country after the 1989 crackdown on dissidents, described in a Newsweek profile in 2000 as part of an influential "Tiananmen Generation" who had received American educations and were debating whether to accept lucrative offers from U.S. companies or return to help build the Chinese economy. Classmates included The Lego Movie producer Dan Lin as well as Media Rights Capital co-chairmen Modi Wiczyk and Asif Satchu. Then described as "a buoyant 29-year-old woman whose dream was to become China's answer to … Oprah Winfrey," Zhang urged her classmates to return to help their country.

    Fifteen years later, she has come full circle as a part of the Alibaba team that met at the end of October with top Hollywood executives in what was described as a "getting to know you" visit. While it's unclear what specific plans Alibaba has for entertainment, the company formed Alibaba Pictures in March when it bought a majority stake in Hong Kong-based ChinaVision Media Group, which produces Chinese-language TV shows and movies. The company is headed by Zhang Qiang, a former senior executive in the state-run China Film Group.

    Zhang Wei graduated from Seton Hill University in Greensburg, Pa., with a bachelor's degree in international organizational management before getting her MBA from Harvard. She was described in her talk show era as a stylish dresser who enjoyed a hazelnut coffee from Starbucks. She hung a poster of her favorite television show, Friends, on the wall in her office. The talk show's producers were taking a risk working with her, she said then, because, "I've gotten a lot of my values from abroad." When they complained about her casual look and asked her to dress in a gray suit, she pleaded, "Please let me be me!"

    In a 2010 appearance at Alifest, an annual conference organized by Ma in the company's hometown of Hangzhou, Zhang hosted key sessions at the event attended by then-California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, eBay CEO John Donahoe and former U.S. Ambassador Jon Huntsman.

    Although her days as a TV host are over, Zhang still appears to be living by the show's motto, building bridges between China and the world. A top U.S. film executive who met with her in L.A. says she came across as interested in "Megan Ellison-type fare," alluding to the highbrow producer of films including Zero Dark Thirty, American Hustle and Foxcatcher.

    One Chinese colleague who requested anonymity expressed confidence that Zhang is more than prepared for her U.S. foray. "Wei is a witty, capable woman," says this person. "She can freely shuttle between various roles and change, be that TV star or executive of a large multinational company."

    ALIBABA BY THE NUMBERS

    $25 billion: Amount raised in Alibaba's September IPO. (It has about $16 billion in cash for investments.)

    54 percent: Jump in Alibaba's revenue, to $2.74 billion, in the second quarter of its fiscal year.

    300 million: Chinese users of Alipay, the company's Paypal-like e-commerce system.

    $1.2 billion: Price Alibaba and Jack Ma's Yunfeng Capital paid in April for a stake in the Chinese web video company Youku Tudou.

    $1 billion: Cost of Alibaba's April deal for a 20 percent stake in Internet TV company Wasu.
    Gene Ching
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  7. #157
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    a little dated...

    ..but still relevant.

    Asian conglomerates seek starring role in Hollywood studios
    By Richard Morgan December 2, 2014 | 2:10am
    Modal Trigger


    Donnie Yen in "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend," slated for an August 2015 release. Asian companies are screen testing their interest in Hollywood studios.
    Photo: AP

    Hollywood is prepping for the next wave of Asian invasion by companies hungry to own a piece of a studio.
    “The markets are beginning to ignore these reports because we’ve heard so many of them,” said Steven Azarbad, whose New York-based Maglan Capital owns a piece of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. “At this point we need to see a deal to believe it.”
    Tony Wible, an analyst at Janney Capital Markets, has no doubt we will.
    “A lot of places around the world have seen how well the US has done exporting media,” he said. “Now they want to do it.”
    The desire is so great among Asian conglomerates, Wible added, there’s even a phrase for it — “ambition for soft power.”
    This ambition is most pronounced in China, which last year surpassed Japan as the largest film market outside the US.
    You can count China’s Dalian Wanda Group as the latest Asian company screen testing its interest in a studio.
    Like Hangzhou-based Alibaba and Shanghai-based Fosun before it, Beijing-based Wanda has Lionsgate squarely in its sights.
    Only it won’t settle unless it obtains a majority interest in the studio behind “The Hunger Games,” as well as such TV productions as “Mad Men” and “Orange is the New Black.”
    “We want control,” Wanda Chairman Wang Jianlin said in a Bloomberg interview on Monday.
    Wanda, which two years ago acquired AMC Entertainment in the US to become the world’s largest cinema owner, is already committed to investing $1.2 billion to build a Beverly Hills base.
    Moreover, as part of its publicly declared ambition to control 20 percent of the global cinema market by 2020, it’s committed to building an $8.1 billion, 20-studio entertainment complex in eastern China.
    Both of those projects, however, may be more feasible than wresting control of Lionsgate.
    Mark Rachesky, Lionsgate’s chairman and largest shareholder, previously held discussions with Alibaba and Fosun to sell at least a part of his 37 percent stake.
    But the lack of a deal — Alibaba’s interest remains alive, sources said, while Fosun invested $1 billion with former Warner Bros. head Jeff Robinov to form Studio 8 after ending its talks with Lionsgate — is making skeptics of some Hollywood investors.
    That’s part of the reason Wanda insists its investment in any US studio gives it control. “They want to make sure whatever product it creates will also sell well in China,” Wible said.
    Tokyo-based SoftBank doesn’t appear as control-oriented as its Chinese counterparts, having settled two months ago for a $250 million minority investment in Legendary Entertainment.
    “They’re still learning the business,” said Wunderlich Securities analyst Matthew Harrigan, who noted SoftBank also demonstrated an ability to keep its ambitions in check by cutting off takeover talks with DreamWorks Animation SKG.
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    Looks like they're positioned to breach the Western Wall.

  9. #159
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    Up 36% in 2014

    And the growth continues...
    China Surges 36% in Total Box Office Revenue


    Breakup Buddies
    January 4, 2015 | 10:03PM PT
    Patrick Frater
    Asia Bureau Chief

    HONG KONG — China’s box office surged ahead by 36% to hit $4.82 billion (RMB29.6 billion) in 2014.

    That consolidated China’s position as the world’s second largest theatrical territory, with a total that was 47% of the North American cumulative, which slipped 5% in 2014 to $10.3 billion.

    In 2013, China’s box office hit $3.57 billion or 4.6 billion yuan.

    While “Transformers: Age of Extinction” was the year’s top film, for the second year in a row local films bettered the competition from Hollywood. Local films accounted for a combined $2.64 billion in 2014 (RMB16.2 billion) and a 55% market share.

    That was a considerable achievement for Chinese cinema, considering that the import quotas were expanded in 2012 to allow more Hollywood imports. But the score might have been higher still had some of the most anticipated Chinese films performed better in the key December month, when local films are favoured and Hollywood effectively locked out.

    Both John Woo’s “The Crossing” and Jiang Wen’s “Gone With The Bullets” underperformed in December, in a repeat of the lesson supposedly learned in December 2012 when the expected blockbusters by big name directors were trounced by low budget “Lost In Thailand.”

    The biggest Chinese hits of 2014 were contemporary and youth-driven titles “Breakup Buddies,” “The Breakup Guru,” and “The Continent” with family entertainer “Dad Where Are We Going” in the top five, along with fantasy “The Monkey King” the most traditional. One late December success was “The Taking of Tiger Mountain,” a big budget, 3D war-adventure film, directed by well-established maverick Tsui Hark, which kicked off with a $51 million opening weekend.

    According to data from the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, a total of 618 Chinese films were produced in 2014, compared with 638 were made in 2013. That was the second year that production dropped slightly. The number of Chinese films achieving theatrical release, however, is likely to have been less than half that total.

    Data from SAPPRFT show cinema admissions rising to 830 million, up 34.5% compared with 617 million in 2013. That implies minimal inflation in the mean national ticket price, a figure which is constantly being pulled lower as more cinemas open in second, third and fourth tier cities where prices are lower than the three major metropolises.

    Some 1,015 cinema complexes were opened in 2014, delivering 5,397 new screens – an average of 15 new screens per day — and bringing the total number of screens to 23,600.

    Chinese films combined overseas gross hit $305 million (RMB1.87 billion), up 32%, according to SAPPRFT.
    Gene Ching
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    And the growth continues to continue

    China's rising box office is putting Hollywood to shame
    Todd Cunningham, The Wrap
    Mar. 3, 2015, 10:36 AM


    Adrien Brody currently stars in China's number one box-office film, "Dragon Blade."

    Five Chinese movies put on an explosive fireworks show at China’s domestic box office over that country’s New Year’s holiday weekend, one that is resonating with the global film industry and beating anything Hollywood has done in almost two years.

    All five ranked among the top 10 movies at the worldwide box office last weekend. The $282 million five-day stretch at the box office showed that at least on occasion, homegrown Chinese hits can match the grosses of American blockbusters.

    The No. 1 movie was the Jackie Chan-produced “Dragon Blade,” which stars John Cusack and Academy Award winner Adrien Brody as Roman soldiers lost in China, with a $56 million four-day haul (top photo).

    The drama “The Man from Macau” brought in $43 million and was followed by the fantasy tale “Zhong Kui: Snow Girl and the Dark Crystal” and French director Jean-Jacques Annaud’s “Wolf Totem,” at around $31 million each. Even a documentary about a TV reality show, “Where Are We Going Dad?” topped $21 million.

    To put those numbers in perspective, there hasn’t been a weekend that strong in the U.S. since “Fast & Furious 6” drove a record Memorial Day weekend in 2013.

    “The growth of the Chinese film industry, and the box office, is definitely happening faster than we expected,” said Ying Ye, managing director of Eastern Light. The company is the Asian arm of Arclight Films, which is opening “Snow Girl and the Dark Crystal” (photo above) in limited release in the U.S. this weekend.

    “Where just three years ago, making $20 million over the course of a movie’s run was good, today success can mean $100 million or even $200 million,” she said.

    What’s behind the unprecedented clout shown recently by Chinese films at the box office?

    Bigger budgets – “Dragon Blade” cost $65 million to make – have helped increase production values with improved post-production and special-effects work, along with the strategic use of Hollywood actors.


    Jackie Chan and John Cusack also star with Brody in "Dragon Blade."

    The Chinese government, in addition to maintaining its iron-clad limits on foreign releases, has aggressively backed the film industry with grants, and stoked continued exhibition sector growth by loosening regulations that include restrictions on movie merchandise sales.

    China’s box office hit $2.7 billion last year and will overtake that of the U.S. by as early as 2017, some analysts have suggested. While acknowledging that China’s movie biz will inevitably approach that of the U.S. in terms of financial scope and influence, most Hollywood studio executives are skeptical it will happen that quickly.

    “Those numbers out of the holiday are incredible” said Craig Dehmel, Twentieth Century Fox’s executive vice-president of international distribution. It’s worth noting that Chinese distributors stacked their New Year’s holiday with high-profile releases, much as Hollywood studios do in the summer or at the holidays, and that there was no competition from Hollywood movies.

    Fox has had a front-row seat for China’s box office boom, and has bet big on its future.

    Last year, “X-Men: Days of Future Past” took in $116 million and “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” grossed $115 million there. “Avatar” is No. 2 behind “Transformers: Age of Extinction on China’s all-time box office list, and Jim Cameron has three more of them coming, with the first to arrive in 2017.

    Fox International Productions, the Sanford Panitch-led unit that makes local-language films in foreign countries, just signed a $130 million deal to make films and TV programs in the region.

    With budgets growing and production values rising, it seems inevitable that Chinese producers will aggressively try to connect with American moviegoers at some point.


    A still from "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon."

    So far, the only two Chinese movies to score in the United States have been the 2000 Oscar-winning “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” which grossed $128 million for Sony Classics, and the 2002 martial arts epic “Hero,” which brought in $54 million when Miramax released it stateside in 2004.

    “To compete and get a share of the American pie is the ultimate goal for many in China, but the way to do that is by partnering with Hollywood on true co-productions,” said Wayne Lin, a marketing executive with China Lion, which is developing and shopping partnerships in six Chinese projects.

    Christian Bale and Nicholas Cage have appeared in Chinese films recently, but ahat’s behind the unprecedented clout shown recently by Chinese films at the box office?

    American stars including Christian Bale and Nicholas Cage have appeared in Chinese films recently, but those roles were mainly for Chinese audiences anxious to see their favorites alongside Hollywood stars.

    Will the day ever come with Chinese movies can battle toe-to-toe with American-made movies in the United States?

    “I think you could pair Kevin Hart with just about any Chinese actor in a buddy movie and have a hit right now,” said BoxOffice.com senior analyst Phil Contrino.
    That's a brilliant statement about Hart by Contrino. He's totally spot on.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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  11. #161
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    Slightly OT

    The Kevin Hart comment above reminded me of this.

    Sohu to Launch ‘Saturday Night Live China’
    March 2, 2015 | 10:44PM PT
    Patrick Frater
    Asia Bureau Chief

    “Saturday Night Live,” the long running satirical sketch show from New York, is to be revamped as a series from Beijing, China.

    The development follows a deal between Lorne Michaels’ Broadway Video Entertainment and Sohu, one of China’s leading Internet portals.

    Sohu currently streams the U.S. version of “SNL” in conjunction with BVE. This groundbreaking show will have international appeal while still being tailored for Chinese audiences.

    The company says that it has begun recruiting comedians ahead of a launch later this year. It says the show “will have international appeal” while still being tailored for Chinese audiences.
    “SNL, which combines the best elements of live music and sketch comedy, will be a refreshing new option for Chinese viewers,” the company said in a statement.

    Sohu, which is listed on NASDAQ, is involved in a range of Chinese language web properties, stretching from search, news and portal activities, online games (changyou.com) and online video (tv.sohu.com).
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
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  12. #162
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    DMG & Valiant

    I don't really know Valiant but it looks like they just cashed in big time.

    Chinese Film Company DMG Bets on Superheroes
    DMG Entertainment, Valiant Entertainment to develop films, toys and theme parks


    This comic book cover released by Valiant Comics shows the cover of "Shadowman" No. 5. PHOTO: ASSOCIATED PRESS
    By LAURIE BURKITT
    March 8, 2015 10:09 p.m. ET

    BEIJING—Chinese film company DMG Entertainment is striking a deal with independent comic book publisher Valiant Entertainment in a move to develop films, toys and theme parks for China’s superhero-crazed consumers.

    Beijing-based DMG is investing an undisclosed amount in Valiant to expand publishing, film, television and licensing of Valiant’s comic characters, it said in a statement on Monday. DMG said that it invested “eight figures” in U.S. dollars toward the expansion and another “nine figures” toward producing films and television programs based on Valiant characters, without releasing further details. A spokesman didn’t immediately provide further financial details.

    The statement said the companies will focus on Chinese language content to build iconic characters in China and the Asia-Pacific.

    DMG is betting on China’s strong appetite for action films and superheroes. In 2013, the Chinese company co-produced with Walt Disney Co. “Iron Man 3,” which pulled in $121 million from China’s box offices, more than a quarter of the movie’s $409 million global ticket revenue, according to film database Box Office Mojo. The top 10 grossing films in China last year included “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” at No. 6 with $116.5 million in ticket sales, and “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” at No. 7 with $115.6 million.

    Film studios in recent years have produced hits based on superheroes from major comic-book publishers. They include Batman and Superman, owned by Time Warner Inc.’s DC Entertainment, and Spider-Man and the Avengers, from Disney’s Marvel.

    Valiant, an independent publisher, has a stable of characters that includes X-O Manowar, Shadowman and Harbinger.

    DMG and Valiant, formed in 1989 and based in New York, want to build a franchise business that looks more like the one in the U.S., where film characters generate revenue far beyond the screen. The companies will create toys, games, live events and theme parks, the statement said.

    Companies like Chinese entertainment giant Dalian Wanda Group Co. are attempting the same thing, creating films and characters and opening parks in China. Universal Parks & Resorts announced in October plans to open a $3.26 billion park in Beijing in the future.

    “Audiences in China and the rest of the world are hungry for heroic stories they can more easily relate to,” said DMG President Wu Bing in the statement.

    Write to Laurie Burkitt at laurie.burkitt@wsj.com
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
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  13. #163
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    no duh

    This is like saying musicals are the most popular Indian movies overseas...

    Kung Fu Movies Remain Most Popular to Overseas Viewers, Chinese Actors and Directors Still Ignored
    Dianne Therese Sencil | Apr 06, 2015 08:10 AM EDT


    "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon's" cast. The film is considered as the highest-grossing foreign language film in the history of Hollywood. (Photo : Reuters)

    The latest results of a survey led by the Academy for International Communications of Chinese Culture (AICCC) show that kung fu movies remain to be the most popular among foreign viewers, but Chinese actors and directors still lack recognition worldwide.

    The foreign viewers' love for kung fu can be represented by the success of Ang Lee's hit movie "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," which grossed up to $128 million in the U.S., becoming the highest-grossing foreign language film in the history of Hollywood.

    According to China Daily, the raw representation of martial arts combined with Chinese characters, settings and costumes satisfied the audience's "orientalistic interest" without challenging their underlying perceptions about China.

    AICCC stated that since the launching of the project in 2011, kung fu has been the top choice of the viewers.

    "We started this project because we want to find out how Chinese culture is being received internationally, and films are the most visually effective way to show our cultures. There are studies on the impact of foreign films in China but not the other way around. Hopefully our study could shed some light on this," Huang Huilin, director of AICCC, told China Daily.

    The results of the survey have moved Chinese filmmakers to improve their works, and some believe that it is just one of the solutions to the problem of China's film industry.

    "It is one way of assessing the influence of the market of Chinese films. It's not the only way. And I think it works better in evalutating the awareness rather than the penetration of Chinese film products. One needs to look at different results to get the whole picture. But this one is surely valuable," China Daily's columnist Raymond Zhou said.

    Interest in China and its culture is growing as more Chinese elements have been shown in some foreign films despite the problems Chinese filmmakers are facing on promoting on the big screen. This increasing international interest on Chinese culture has a great influence on China's flourishing economy.

    The success of small screens, with the combination of Hollywood's professionalism and cultural skill of Chinese cinema, could be a breaking point for the success of the big screen.

    Improving the delivery and finding fresh ideas will surely be a hard test for Chinese producers and filmmakers.
    Gene Ching
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  14. #164
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    Survey sez...

    Chinese Movies Still Struggle Overseas Despite Kung Fu's Global Appeal, Survey Shows


    'Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon'

    by Clifford Coonan
    4/7/2015 12:45am PDT

    Chinese movies are still falling short in foreign markets, with low recognition of directors and actors overseas, even though martial arts films remain popular, according to a survey by a government think tank.

    Making a movie that works in both China and the United States has become a kind of Holy Grail for producers in both countries, but it remains an elusive goal.

    The Academy for International Communications of Chinese Culture conducted the study in nine countries to find out how Chinese movies were received overseas.

    While Chinese box office totaled nearly $4.8 billion last year, providing a big boon for Hollywood films, and with the number of link-ups between overseas and Chinese film companies burgeoning, the overseas market for movies from the world's second largest film business was less spectacular.

    Read More China Box Office: Theater Takings Rise 40 Percent in First Quarter (Report)

    "What we've found is that people tend to watch Chinese films through free channels instead of going to theaters," said Huang Huilin, director of the AICCC.

    "Most of the participants watch Chinese films online. The Internet offers fertile and challenging ground for Chinese filmmakers to exploit. And also kung-fu and comedy are still the most popular types of Chinese films among overseas viewers."

    The Xinhua report singled out Taiwanese director Ang Lee's kung-fu movie Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon as an example of how movies imbued with Chinese culture could be a success overseas – the movies grossed $128 million in the United States and became the highest-grossing foreign language film in Hollywood history.

    "The raw spectacle of martial arts combined with Chinese characters, settings and costumes satisfied the audiences 'orientalistic interest', without challenging their underlying perceptions about China," the Xinhua report said.

    However, little has come close to emulating its success ever since, although there are high hopes for the Legendary/China Film Group co-production Great Wall, currently shooting outside Beijing with Zhang Yimou directing and starring a host of Chinese and international stars, including Matt Damon,Willem Dafoe,Pedro Pascal,Andy Lau, Jing Tian and Zhang Hanyu.

    Read More China Box Office: 'Wolf Warriors' Edges Ahead of 'Kingsman' Over Holiday Weekend

    The AICCC said this has been a prevailing trend since they started the project in 2011.

    "We started this project because we want to find out how Chinese culture is being received internationally, and films are the most visually effective way to show our cultures. There are studies on the impact of foreign films in China but not the other way around. Hopefully our study could shed some light on this," Huang said.

    One recurring theme in the report is that filmmakers needed to be willing to challenge traditional channels of production and distribution if they want to find success on the international market.

    The AICCC's deputy director Luo Jun said there were more and more Chinese elements appearing in overseas dramas, in shows such as Netflix's recent drama Marco Polo.

    "For me it's a westernized narrative of Chinese culture. It's like Chinese food in America, it's not just Chinese food, it's their interpretation and imagination about Chinese culture," said Luo.

    Twitter: @cliffordcoonan
    If China ever does figure out how to make that global hit, just like if they ever figure out how to establish a global brand, then that ominous sleeping dragon awakens...
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
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  15. #165
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    Wanda's surge

    This speaks to the essence of this thread right now.

    Wanda Cinema's earnings surge in 2014



    By Kevin Ma

    Mon, 13 April 2015, 09:45 AM (HKT)
    Exhibition News

    Wanda Media Co Ltd 萬達影視傳媒有限公司's cinema chain reported a huge surge in earnings in 2014, according to an earnings report released on Friday.

    In 2014, Wanda Cinema Line Corporation 萬達電影院線股份有限公司 earned RMB5.34 billion (US$860 million) in operating revenue, representing a year-on-year rise of 32.7%. Net profits was up by 32.9%, from RMB602 million (US$97.0 million) in 2013 to RMB801 million (US$129 million) in 2014.

    With a market share of 14.2%, Wanda Cinemas is the biggest cinema chain in China. With 369 new screens in 40 new cinemas in 2014, Wanda now operates 1,616 screens in 182 cinemas across the nation.

    Wanda is also the first cinema chain in China to be publicly listed. Guangzhou Jinyi Cinemas 廣州金逸電影 also applied to be listed earlier this year, but was disqualified. Shanghai Film Group Corp 上海電影集團公司 and China Film Group Corporation 中國電影集團公司 are also preparing IPOs.

    Gene Ching
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