ERIN J. XUE, ENTscope Staff Writer
When I was working on representative of the Beijing Film Delegation at the American Film Market earlier this year, many producers came to the office and asked me the same question: “How could I enter the Chinese movie market?” At that time, my suggestion was to seek cooperation with some Chinese company- it is an easier way to enter the Chinese market, considering the limited amount of foreign movies that would be proved by Chinese government each year- probably around 20 movies per year.
However, I did not have the chance to further explain the context of Chinese movie market for those producers. There are nuances that can be hard to detect by westerners, such as preferences of Chinese movie watchers, the timing, and the nature of Chinese movie market, etc.
Considering the passion of those American producers, here are a few principles that producers need to follow:
1. Good quality ≠ crazy box office revenue
What is the most convincing reason for a Chinese to go to the movie theater right away and buy the movie tickets? I would probably say it’s reputation. Usually Chinese people are more fanatic about movies with the big names, they love superhero movies, they love Hollywood. The word-of-mouth gives more credit to a movie than its own quality, which means, producers may find a hard time marketing their independent movies in China. The reality is cruel: you have to be famous enough to attract Chinese audience’s attention. Just take a look at the list below that shows the most money-making foreign movies in Chinese market:
And you will understand.
2. Whatever movie categories will be popular? You are wrong!
One thing about Chinese movie audience is, they are not picky. They love fictions, comedies, romantic movies, and even horror movies have a decent amount of fans. However, this doesn’t mean producers can successfully sell their movies in China. Specifically, They are more enthusiastic about fictions and actions, such as superheroes series and those Oscar winners.
Now take another look at the list of most profitable foreign movies in Chinese market above. Almost all of them belong to the Action or Fiction categories, right? Chinese people have their own expectations for American movies, which are those with fancy movie effects. Besides, they cannot resist the temptation of the big names in Hollywood, just as Americans!
3. Sounds frustrating for those producers with limited budget? Don’t worry!
Don’t worry！There is always some other way for producers with limited budget, and without big stars casting in their movie: Marketing. Interacting with Chinese audience, such as invite your casts come to China, and meet the audience before premiere- It works even when your movie will not be on the screen.
More and more foreign producers are cooperating with Chinese video website, such as Thunder, and LeTV, which offer paid-movie services to their membership. Those website still have an amazing amount of paid users- For Thunder, there are 5 million active Chinese members; For LeTV, over 12 million are watching movies from either LeTV website or LeTV terminal- Just as Apple TV in America. Sounds nice? This is definitely a good choice for producers to seek for their chance in Chinese market.
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 I).