American movies used to make big bucks in China. But not for the last few years.
For a while, Hollywood was very concerned with what they could make at the international box office, particularly in China. Well, recently, China has not been the cash cow everyone expected.
In fact, they're not even taking American movies at the same rate as before. It's no secret that tensions regarding world politics, copyrights, and exports have strained the China-America relationship. But Hollywood usually is able to circumvent all that for the almighty buck. That's not the case these last few years.
Beijing regulators have cut back on Hollywood's access to the Chinese market. In fact, the number of American studio films released in China dropped by a third last year.
In 2021, even Marvel tentpole movies, which used to make hundreds of millions in that country, were denied release dates for reasons that were never officially explained. Some of this has to do with an increasingly nationalistic policy stance under Chinese President Xi Jinping. But again, no official statements have come.
This year, Disney's Death on the Nile will be one of the first movies to release in China, but there is a wonder if other movies will follow, or if it will only be a select few. These numbers from The Hollywood Reporter are staggering:
"In 2021, imported U.S. studio films had earned just $700 million as of July 31, down 66 percent compared to sales over the same stretch in 2019 ($2.1 billion), and falling 61 percent from 2018 ($1.8 billion)."
Compounding all of this would be that China is also making a lot of its own titles. There are homegrown blockbusters, romances, and other popular genres that get people out to see movies in their native tongue. Plus, the ongoing pandemic has greatly affected who can go to the theaters to see what.
All of these problems are spiraling right now, with no end in sight.
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