The Chinese moviemaking industry has shifted its goals to overtake the US dominance in producing internationally marketable movies. China, itself, represents a major market for US movies and has greatly contributed to their international success.
This shift is evident in a Shanghai studio’s recent advancement in 3D and digital cartoon development software, which is helping animate two characters in the “Kung Fu Panda” franchise. This collaboration for “Kung Fu Panda 3” is the first between America’s DreamWorks and Chinese Oriental DreamWorks. More and more, Chinese studios have been working to gain a larger role in the creative process by helping to develop, design and produce globally known movies.
While Chinese firms may be rising up on the value chain, their interaction with Hollywood’s studios will promote a better knowledge of Chinese culture and further entry into the country’s highly regulated market, which is predicted to transcend the US as the largest film market in the world. On average, China adds 15 new cinema screens a day and its box office realized $4.8 billion in 2014 (triple the amount in 2010).
In addition to creative genius, China could be a large contributor to production capital. The private equity firm China Media Capital announced last year its plans to create a “global content investment fund,” with Warner Brothers, international advertising powerhouse WPP, and many others. While this firm remains in talks with US studios, it hopes to develop animation that can be distributed globally from China.
The government supports these deals, as they represent an opportunity to bolster the country’s image and depiction of its culture. Therefore, self-censorship may follow, as US firms will not want to offend their Chinese business partners. In addition, the government, in alignment with my previous blog post, hopes to see the development of Chinese powerhouse studios and maybe even China’s own equivalent of Hollywood.