Skip to comments.China slams the door on big Hollywood sequels
Posted on 05/24/2004 7:42:29 PM PDT by Jalapeno
May 21, 2004, 2:58PM
By ELAINE KURTENBACH
SHANGHAI, China -- Chinese moviegoers may have to wait just a little longer for the latest installments of Spider-Man, Shrek and Harry Potter.
China is suspending imports of foreign movies in July, apparently part of a campaign to protect the local film industry.
Alfred Molina's Doc Ock won't be visiting China anytime soon since the country put a ban on Spider-Man 2.
Despite the success of Chinese director Zhang Yimou and a handful of others, China's homegrown movie industry has been starved of box-office revenues by the plethora of pirated DVDs that sell for as little as $1 each.
Adding to the industry's woes, looser restrictions that followed China's 2001 entry into the World Trade Organization has meant foreign movies are being shown in ever greater numbers at local cinemas. And audiences seem to favor slick Hollywood productions over the dramas, slapstick comedies and communist propaganda films churned out by China's state-run studios.
Local studios also make few films aimed at young audiences.
Zhou Tiedong, a manager at the movie import and export division of China Film Group, confirmed reports in state-run newspapers that no foreign films would be released in July -- a peak movie viewing period. But Zhou questioned reports that foreign films will also be banned in October, saying the schedule for that month had not yet been set. If true, that would also shut foreign movies out of the weeklong holiday for the Oct. 1 National Day.
Major film distributor Huaxia Film Distribution also said it had been told to show only domestic-made movies during "certain periods of time," the Hong Kong-based newspaper South China Morning Post reported Wednesday.
An official at the State Administration for Film, Radio and Television, who refused to give his name, said distributors had been told to show only domestic films during July to limit competition for the debut of Zhang Yimou's $20 million kung fu thriller House of Flying Daggers.
Last weekend, a downtown Shanghai cinema was showing at least three foreign films -- Cheaper by the Dozen, Looney Tunes: Back in Action and Cold Mountain -- and one local film.
The reported ban comes after regulators recently began tightening ideological control over television, ordering celebrities to tone down their clothing and language and telling broadcasters to shun imported programming that doesn't fit China's "social system and national conditions."
The controls are aimed, they say, at fostering a wholesome environment for children.
Shrek 2 opened Wednesday in the United States, while Spider-Man 2, and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban are scheduled to premiere in June.
Chinese moviegoers can catch Spider-Man 2 and Shrek 2 in August, local reports said.
The timing for the Chinese premiere of the latest Harry Potter movie has not yet been set.
I must admit I'm definitely torn on this issue. On the one hand, this definitely smacks of unfair trade practices and I wonder if it's also being done to preserve the Communist totalitarian regime. On the other hand, so many of Hollywood's movies are such utter garbage that I don't feel all that sorry for them. Furthermore, since so much of Hollywood is run by the Hollywood *Left*, I wouldn't shed a single tear if their entire industry crashed, augured a hole in the ground, and plummetted all the way to the Earth's solid iron core. To heck with the money the US might derive from sales in China. If the Hollywood left saw their precious industry go up in flames, all I want to know is where to bring the sticks and marshmallows (or, if we really insist on mourning them, whether black spray paint will stick to flower petals or if I have to use primer first).
=== Totally unrelated, but interesting FR Search of "China Slams"
I believe linking "totally unrelated but interesting" searches in your comments section holds the #7 slot on "Top Ten Signs You're a Dumpster Diving Addict"
The best thing China could do to help their entertainment industry would be to crack down on piracy. Piracy really hurt the HK film industry in the 90's since vcd's were coming out before movies premiered at a prices less than 2 adult tickets. China is being stupid yet again.