China Has Drastically Cut Back on American Movies with No Explanation

'Death on the Nile'Credit: Disney
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. 

Let us know what you think in the comments.      

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Your Comment


I, too, have done the same thing! Haha :) Even America has even cut back on American movies... It's a classic case of how no one can love you unless you learn to love yourself.

And honestly, good for China! They know their worth and importance and they're taking steps to not let other countries walk all over them.

January 20, 2022 at 11:42AM, Edited January 20, 11:46AM


because the movies are lame, with dumb story line, irresponsible ideology, confusing value.

long live your democracy~

your political correctness is social disease.

January 20, 2022 at 8:46PM

Torchiam Sun
camera operator

Yeah that tracks.

January 24, 2022 at 8:53AM

Sketkh Williams

America made a Faustian deal with China to provide trade skills for their film industry to grow their creative and technical knowledge in return for access to their market. The idea that a country with their eyes on becoming a regional hegemon, along with a superpower to boot, with a decidedly authoritarian and anti-democratic ideology driving their entire civilisation would just up and keep letting the US distribute in their tightly controlled culture is ludicrous. They did what they wanted and do with all sectors- acquired the technological skills they were after, then when it was convenient or expedient, changed the relationship.

January 24, 2022 at 2:48AM


The Fast and Furious series was the formula Hollywood had used for making movies with the intent for international distribution (with China as the primary consumer), but the new leadership is rejecting cultural progressivism on every level (even fashion-conscious Asian boy bands are out of favor), and much of the product being made in the West does not pass the traditionalist sniff test. Chinese leadership is worried their men are becoming self-indulgent and emotional and their martial skillset is being diminished and Chinese women becoming too willful and independent.

January 31, 2022 at 9:23AM

Marc B
Shooter & Editor

You are right.. but even american republicans are rejecting cultural progressism ?

August 22, 2022 at 4:09PM

Lighting cameraman