CHINA: MPAA Chairman Chris Dodd Meets with Chinese Film Officials

on June 10, 2013

MPAA Chairman Chris Dodd recently admitted he was hoping for a Hollywood-China relationship without an overseas quota, according to an interview the former Senator granted to Variety

Dodd spoke to the trade publication from China, where he was meeting with Ci Fuchao, the new minister overseeing the State Adminitration of Radio, Film, and TV, and Tong Gang, head of China's Film Buraeu, the entity with the powerful to decide which overseas films make it to theaters. 

The MPAA Chairman addressed several of Hollywood's existing concerns with the world's number two film market, including late payments and the infamous "blackout" periods that pull overseas films from release in order to give an advantage to Chinese productions. According to Variety, The Croods was recently pulled from theaters in order to give competing Chinese animated films a leg up around the Childrens' Day holiday. Fox last reported a $60.6 million cumulative gross for The Croods in China as of June 2.

China increased its state sponsored quota of overseas films for theatrical release in February 2012. The number nearly doubled, going from 20 films to 34. Chinese co-prodcutions are exempt from this quota. The specific limitations of a Chinese co-production, however, come at a creative cost for producers and filmmakers. Recent films like Iron Man 3 have instead opted for a hybrid approach, openly courting for approval from Chinese censors and audiences alike by avoiding potentially sensitive subject matter and including "China-friendly" cuts featuring scenes with popular Chinese actors. The strategy worked for Iron Man 3, which has already grossed a massive $120.6 million from the territory.

Chinese censors are difficult to convince, however, as other high-profile films have fallen out of favor and seen themselves locked out of the market. Django Unchained was pulled from theaters during its opening day, only to be rescheduled in a brutal release window in close proximity to the premieres of Oblivion and Iron Man 3. Django floundered upon its newly scheduled release, currently posting a meager $2.78 million in China. World War Z, a production which had been careful not to alienate Chinese censors in its globe-trotting zombie apocalypse storyline, was rejected by Chinese censors last week, according to a report from The Wrap.

The face-to-face meetings indicate hope for a closer working relationship between Hollywood and the world's second most important film market.  

 

Tags: The Croods, Oblivion, Iron Man 3, Django Unchained, World War Z

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