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Tuesday, February 20, 2018

China buys Hollywood for building up “soft power”

Corporation of China buying up shares in the largest companies, and gradually become a leading player in the global film market, dictating their own rules the writers and Directors. In parallel, Beijing is preparing a new law on cinematography, which will make these rules mandatory conditions. With the mind – it’s just business. In fact, a powerful diplomatic weapon, the result of which can be seen now.

A few days ago, the highest paid Director in the world Steven Spielberg and the richest man in China Jack MA called a press conference in Beijing and announced the transaction: the owner of the Internet giant Alibaba buys stake in film Studio Amblin Pertners (formerly Dreamworks). Financial details were not disclosed. We only know that MA will get a seat on the Board of Directors of Studio partners-billionaires have promised to bring “more of China in America and America in China”.

“In “world War Z” hordes of zombies too, had to come from China. At the insistence of the Chinese, of zombies came from Russia”

Now the Chinese comrades will participate in the production and distribution of films worldwide. The transaction MA and Spielberg shows that China is gradually took possession of Hollywood as one of the main tools of “soft power” in the world. Moreover, the Chinese invasion is a long time.

Until 1994, the hire of foreign films in the PRC were in principle prohibited. And when it was allowed, the government severely restricted the number of foreign paintings. Until 2009 rentals could appear no more than 20 foreign tapes a year, now no more than 34. But all this time the number of cinemas in China, as demand for tickets grew rapidly – after the Chinese, one way or another approaching the “middle class”. In 2015, the box office of China has brought more than $ 6 billion. Today it is the second largest film market after the U.S., but by 2018 he should be the first in the world.

For the opportunity to enter this huge market Hollywood studios have long maintained a desperate fight, but Beijing protects its own market, like a dragon’s treasure. The distribution of the films for a long time engaged exclusively in Chinese companies. The majority of holders are available to hire with a minimum payments or no right to a percentage of box office receipts. To obtain permission to hire the manufacturer needs from the General administration of press, radiotelevisione and information. The eligibility requirements are strict: no religion, least of eroticism, the good must defeat evil.

In order to circumvent the quota of 34 movies, foreign Studio enter into with the Chinese side, agreements caprolactone. The government encourages this idea. First, this approach guarantees a portion of the proceeds from box office receipts domestic producers. Second, it gives the Chinese access to the latest technology of American competitors. Thirdly, the script of the film, announced as the joint product should be available for consideration by the Chinese censors before filming began. So China regulates foreign film production in return for access to their cinema-goer and his money. But such transactions are beneficial to producers and American paintings, produced together with the Chinese in China have the status of national films, so that the rental restrictions did not apply. It also gives the opportunity to increase their percentage of the rental – now American movie brings the Studio no more than 25% of the fees in China.

This year in the fusion of Chinese and American film industry became a landmark. During the six months before the deal MA and Spielberg a Chinese company Dalian Wanda Group acquired a controlling stake in film Studio Legendary for $ 3.5 billion. In the summer, Dalian Wanda was negotiating the purchase of 49% of the shares of Paramount Pictures, and in September formed an Alliance with Sony Pictures Entertainment. In China a lot of free money that the Chinese are happy to invest in filmmaking. This sale in Hollywood is very similar to the penetration there of Japanese business. It began in 1980-ies with the sale of Sony Studio Columbia Pictures, and ended in 2005 with the sale of MGM to Sony all the same. At that time it was the Japanese film market was the second in the world after the us. To take, Hollywood was willing to share with our Japanese partners shares of their companies, and even sell the oldest major studios. Today, the same policies it is against China. But unlike the Japanese allies, the Chinese comrades are controlling Hollywood content is much tougher.

Any American movie that you want to hire in China, forced to adjust to the demands of censorship, the main of which is any criticism of China. And I must say, the filmmakers do it. By looking at whole new Hollywood blockbuster, we do not even suspect that the screen film made in compliance with all rules established by the Main state control of the press, radiotelevisione and information of China.

For example, in the film “looper,” Rian Johnson, the main character was saving the money to drop everything and go to Paris. Suddenly, in the script there is the following dialogue. The boss says to the hero: “I’m from the future. You should go to China”. As a result, the hero began to dream about Paris, and Shanghai. So the Chinese comrades have corrected their American partners.

Another example: in “Red dawn”, the US had to grab the Chinese army. After negotiations with the Chinese censors in the role of invaders was made by the North Koreans. In “world War Z” hordes of zombies too, had to come from China. At the insistence of the Chinese, of zombies came from Russia.

But if for rental in the PRC censors simply change the text and cut them unpleasant scene (from “Mission impossible 3”, for example, removed the linen, beautifully shivsena at the Shanghai balconies), full cooperation of Chinese and American kinematografistov will lead to the fact that the Directors will have as a conveyor belt churning out good family movie without eroticism, crime, cynicism and anything that might upset Chinese Communists.

The press regularly criticizes American filmmakers for their kowtowing to China. Comedian Stephen Colbert makes fun of Hollywood’s passion for delicious “sweet and sour Chinese yuan”. And In September 16 congressmen even made the request, without having to worry about the growing influence of China on American cinema. But the filmmakers respond in the style of “it’s the economy, stupid” – and continue to adapt to the demands of the Chinese partners.

Film historians on the subject have remembered how successfully conquered at the time, the Hollywood major film market of the 1930s- Nazi Germany. In predvoennye years for the German Consul in Los Angeles regularly arranged closed preview important Hollywood movies. Consul if some episode did not like it cut. Afterwards, the German film rental was provided.

Judging by the cash results, the best state order, China still does exactly Steven Spielberg. Record office, assembled in China franchise Dreamworks “kung fu Panda”, is the envy of all his colleagues. The deal with Jack MA became the logical conclusion of his long journey to the title of people’s artist of the PRC.

And while the Chinese oligarchs are buying up cinema chains and controlling of the studios preparing to become major players in the global film market, the Chinese government proposed a new draft law on cinema. According to him, films must be “impeccable, not only professionally, but also morally”. Actors and Actresses involved in high-profile scandals, will not be allowed to present national film awards and Chinese film companies will not be allowed to work on foreign films that “infringe on the dignity and national interests of China, provoke social instability and offend the national pride of the Chinese.”

If the law is passed, all the films of a joint U.S.-Chinese production will fall under its action. And as China gradually takes control of the main global film market shortly, likely to viewers around the world will be doomed to watch good and funny movies that glorified the greatness and power of China, and on the back end waving a red flag. “Because we need a movie with rod, moral and warm,” – said recently, Vice-Premier of China Liu Yandong.

In the air hung the question: can Russia to dictate the cinematic tastes of Hollywood, as does China? Can. But first she would have to be China – if not the number of viewers, at least according to their financial capabilities.


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