Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Will Chinese Film Industry Overtake Hollywood?

By Asia Pop Culture

We heard a lot about the emerging middle class in Asia.  With more discretionary income, China's new middle class is popping up everywhere.  I already talked about last year the astonishing Chinese shopping spree at the largest mall in Paris, France, and how Chinese tourists practically were buying up almost all the high-end designer stores.

Now WantChinaTimes.com reports "Box office revenue in China on course to break RMB100bn a year".  RMB 100Bn is around $16Bn in USD.

According to proboxoffice.com, the domestic gross box office in the U.S. for year 2014 was only about $10.4Bn.  So that means China is on course to surpass the U.S., the home of Hollywood, in total box office?

To clarify, this forecast is on the optimistic side as WantChinaTimes.com article notes
China's box office revenue reached 29.6 billion yuan (US$4.77 billion) in 2014, and if the figure can grow by 36% a year on average it can reach the 100 billion yuan (US$16 billion) benchmark in four years, although it could be a bit too optimistic, People's Daily reports.
36% growth rate a year is certainly a tall order even for China, the world's growth engine. The article goes on quoting a film critic in China that while it it possible that China's box office could surpass the US by 2020 but reaching an annual box office of 100 billion yuan will not be easy.  The film critic believes the biggest problem facing China's film industry is the extremely low cost-performance ratio. The 10% of films that make money get a lot of press but most ignore the 90% which make a loss.

Well, I think this is where U.S. film industry seems to have an edge.  With DVDs, Netflix, On Demand, and the wide acceptance of English-speaking films in so many international markets, American movies have a lot more revenue streams than Chinese films.  Plus, Americans can make popular Chinese movies too (e.g., Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) So it seems America still reigns supreme in the movie and entertainment industry, at least for a little longer.