Hollywood needs to worry about their market in China.
ERIN J. XUE, ENTscope Staff Writer
Last year, the Chinese movie market surged by 49 percent while the US market grew by only 8 percent. The boom of the Chinese movie market has continuously stunned the world with its doubled box-office revenues and the number of newly added movies every day. This is more than “Movie Mania”, as Wall Street Journal calls it, but rather a promising indication of the future movie market. In China, we see a growing passion for movies among the newly-risen middle class who are more than willing to spend more money on entertainment consumption. Based on the amazing potential for a large audience, China is a market that everyone wants to have a share in.
At the same time, fanatics for Hollywood movies has been decreasing. More attention has been shifted to domestic movies, as can see from the figures: According to the Box Office Mojo, three of the five movies with top box-office revenues in the Chinese movie market in 2016 were domestic movies. The top grossing Chinese romantic comedy, The Mermaid, had double the revenue of Zootopia. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Hollywood movies accounted for 38.4 percent of the Chinese box office this year, falling from a 45.5 percent market share in 2014. This is not due to some coincidence of bad luck, but seems to be an irreversible future trend.
Even more worrisome, China is working to push Hollywood out of the Chinese market. Wang Jianlin, the richest man in China, has just spent 30 billion RMB building the biggest Oriental-Hollywood in Qingdao, Shandong province. There is a long list of invited guests and collaborators, including the Oscars Academy.
Those pictures with Chinese billboards may be somewhat intimidating for Hollywood. If they still want a steady share of the market, they had better pack up their stuff and go on a market research trip to China or talk to some real Chinese people, instead of making strategies in their cozy studios. What is Hollywood’s future in China look like? How likely is it for them to revive and regain a dominant place in the Chinese movie market? Before thinking about all the big questions, think about how to get a real understanding of the Chinese audience first.
Want to see how Chinese people choose movies and what movies are their favorites? We will offer some in-depth analysis in the upcoming ENTscope article: Hollywood’s Cake in China: A Guide to Kicking Butt and Making Money (Part II).