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A hitch for Hollywood in China's cinemas

Monday, December 19, 2016 - 01:57

Hollywood finds a new formula for cracking China's tough box office: make the films in China. Matt Damon leads the charge with 'The Great Wall', already raking in the millions on its first weekend in China. But Hollywood faces some fresh challenges in what will soon be the world's biggest movie market.

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It's scored around 66 million dollars in its first weekend in China.... The Great Wall starring Matt Damon has all the hallmarks of a blockbuster It was also "made in China." Which means it isn't subject to Beijing's strict foreign film quotas. Hollywood studios are now watching to see if Universal's big investment pays off... But there's reason to be cautious - growth at China's box office isn't what it used to be... Ticket sales through November up just over four percent...compared to 50 percent in 2015. Reuters' Adam Jourdan explains the reasons for the slowdown. "And what's behind that is a number of things. One of them is the crackdown on ticket fraud and subsidies by film producers here who used to prop up the market, giving away tickets at sort of cut price deals. They cracked down on that earlier in the year and that has stymied growth and put some people off going to the cinema. But we've also seen potentially slowdown in the economy, people reining in their spending and tightening their belts. People watching the films increasingly online with a raft of new online platforms for TV and video content, which just means that less people are going to see the silver screen." China has quickly moved from a big screen backwater to one of Hollywood's hottest markets Experts say China ticket sales will overtake the U.S. within the next few years. And that's got big investors from both countries scrambling to cash in. This year and last year we've seen a spate of deals between Hollywood and China, we know people like Alibaba tying up with Steven Spielberg's group earlier in the year. We see a copper company buying into the producers behind the Hurt Locker and Dallas Buyers Club, some strange and some strange and some major tie ups between the two countries. Given the slowdown in box office, the big question on everyone's lips both in China and Hollywood is what's going to happen next year. But there's a big wildcard to watch for 2017: Donald Trump Analysts say if Washington-Beijing relations go downhill... China's censors may decide to allow in fewer American films.... when they meet to review the quotas next year.

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A hitch for Hollywood in China's cinemas

Monday, December 19, 2016 - 01:57