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The Hollywood dilemma.. The calculations of American cinema towards China

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In the extreme southwest of the United States is Los Angeles, the capital of the world’s most important visual creativity that controls the film and television industry, meeting the world’s most important artists, writers, filmmakers, actors and dancers in what is known as Hollywood.

 

Historically, to a large extent, the universality of any actors or directors from any country in the world has been recognized only by passing through the Hollywood film portal, but this reality is changing in the face of what China is doing doubly, both by supporting the domestic film industry within it, and by influencing the American film industry itself.

 

In the late 1990s, when China’s box office was still small, Hollywood produced films that angered the Communist Party, such as” seven years in Tibet “about the life of the Dalai Lama, the leader of the Tibetan region, and Richard Gere’s” the Red Corner ” in which he criticized China’s legal system, but what was allowed 10 years ago is no longer tolerated.

 

The coronavirus pandemic has dealt a major blow to Hollywood, and US movie studios are looking to foreign theaters in their recovery efforts.

 

Hard-to-counter Chinese potential

The presence of Hollywood within China, whether through what is filmed within Chinese territory or what deals with Chinese affairs, means that the Communist Party’s influence on American filmmaking is increasingly accepted. The Chinese government selects films that can be shown in theaters within China annually, so filmmakers have to think about how to attract Chinese viewers on the one hand, and on the other hand not to approach the Chinese state taboo.

 

Unlike the United States, China does not have a rating system for films, so the government relies on its censors to block content that it deems offensive to the public, to Chinese culture and to the Chinese ruling system, and that extends beyond sex scenes, excessive violence or utterances, to political affairs and how Chinese society is portrayed and exposed to it.

 

China in the cinema of yesterday and today

Chinese citizens have been allowed to watch American films on a large commercial scale since 1994 within Chinese theaters, and the Chinese market was then small. The Fugitive-the first American film to be shown in cinemas there – grossed only 3 3 million, while US film profits have jumped in recent years as a result of allowing it to be screened inside China to hundreds of millions of dollars.

 

In 2005, China had only 4,000 theaters, slightly more than Britain had at that time. Last year, the number of Chinese theaters reached 70,000, equal to that of America and Europe combined, according to data from Omdia, a specialist art research firm.

Chinese box office revenues in 2019 totaled 8.6 billion, surpassed only by US box office revenues of just over 11 billion in the same year.

 

Since the early 21st century, U.S. studios have made more profit from watching their films outside the United States, with nearly two-thirds of their broadcast revenues abroad, and China is the most important overseas market for American films around the world. At the same time I don’t enjoy Hollywood within China freedoms they enjoy in the rest of the world.

Made in Hollywood

A 94-page report entitled “Made in Hollywood-censored in Beijing” by the International Freedom of expression rights organization, Pen America, states that major Hollywood players are increasingly making decisions about their films “to avoid antagonizing Chinese officials who decide whether or not their films are allowed into the booming Chinese market.”

 

The organization said in its report, “in some cases, invited filmmakers or directors directly regulators Chinese government for the thoughts of film scenarios, and receive advice on how to avoid tripping distance control”. The report concluded that to appease investors and the Chinese Communist Party “has become an important means of doing business in Hollywood”.

 

Chinese censors could change the script for the film and propose other modifications to allow the film to be screened later in China.

China expands its triple bans (3T-3Ts)

For many years the Chinese government has imposed extensive restrictions on the film industry inside and outside China so that 3 issues each beginning with a T are ignored, from here they are called the Three t, referring to Tibet, Taiwan and Tiananmen.

 

Many Chinese do not know what happened in 1989 when Chinese tanks crushed a peaceful student-led demonstration in the famous Tiananmen Square, killing thousands of demonstrators.

 

China does not want Taiwan’s name to be mentioned or any film made there, and the Chinese government does not accept any mention of the fact that Taiwan is a separate island, although technically it is still part of China.

 

As for the territory of Tibet, China does not accept any reference to the suffering of the inhabitants of the self-governing territory, nor does it accept the existence of a photograph or a reference to the Tibetan leader, the Dalai Lama.

 

In the last two years, the list of Chinese prohibitions has expanded to include western Chinese Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang, and Hong Kong pro-democracy demonstrators on their island.

 

Hollywood is not expected to make films about these issues for fear of angering the Chinese government.

 

Earning the affection of the Chinese viewer

The film is a Chinese folklore story that glorifies the historical Chinese state, in which Chinese good triumphs over other evil. The film’s scenes were shot between China and New Zealand, and was mostly starring Chinese actors. Many observers saw Mulan’s film as a step to get closer and win the affection of viewers and officials in China.

 

The film sparked an uproar and embarrassment for Hollywood after one of the film’s female protagonists, Yifei Liu, praised Chinese security forces following the violent crackdown on peaceful pro-democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong.

 

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