Hollywood invades China, China opens the door

China partners with Hollywood to expand its film industry

Kate Lieb By Kate Lieb

Dreamworks Pictures partnered with Chinese media outlets to expand the Kung Fu Panda franchise. (Youtube)

As American and Chinese media companies start working together, both sides hope to cash in on one another’s skills and markets.

According to an article in Caixin, a Chinese media outlet, major players like Dreamworks are joining forces with three Chinese companies. They’re expected to make new installments of “Kung Fu Panda” and build a theme park in Shanghai.

Caixin says the agreement allows Hollywood to enter the fast-growing media market in China. It also, crucially, allows the American companies to maneuver around Chinese laws, which limit the number of foreign films per year.

Wei Pengju, executive dean of the Central University of Finance and Economics’ Culture & Creative Academy, tells Caixin the agreement will boost the film industry in China.

“Through this kind of cooperation, the U.S. film producers will bring capital, professionals and managerial skills to China,” he says. “We lack good scripts, talented actors and market development. In these aspects, we should draw experience from our U.S. partners.”

The question is, however, what role will government supervision play in these China-U.S. joint ventures? As Dan Mintz, an American who’s chief executive of the China-owned DMG Entertainment put it to the Wall Street Journal earlier this year:

“Back home, you’re really only concerned with one group of people—the consumer. In China you have to be good at handling the government and the consumer.”

This isn’t the first time China has looked to Hollywood to boost its economy. As previously reported by Latitude News, Chinese companies have started “product placing” in American movies and TV shows. Why? In first half of 2012, according to Caixin, four out of five movies that sold at least 10 million tickets in China were made in the United States.