Nov 27, 2020
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‘Happyness’ to break Chinese ban

A blackout barring Hollywood films from China will be broken by "Pursuit of Happyness," starring Will Smith, which Chinese state film import officials said Thursday will be released in January.

The Columbia Pictures release about a father struggling to raise a child on his own in 1980s San Francisco would dispel recent talk of a three-month ban of Hollywood films from Chinese cinemas.

" ‘Happiness Knocks at the Door’ is coming in January. We are planning what day to release it," Yuan Wenqiang, China Film Group Import Export Co. deputy manager said in a telephone interview, referring to the 2006 film by its Chinese title. Yuan declined further comment.

The unofficial ban of imported films, earlier denied by China Film Group executives, was thought to have come down from high in the Communist government, which long has moved to prevent what it calls "pollution" of local culture and to protect the struggling Chinese film industry.

China’s total 2006 boxoffice returns were 2.6 billion yuan ($352 million) in 2006, a fraction of the global boxoffice of $40 billion. This year, China’s four top-earning boxoffice hits all were from Hollywood, led by "Transformers," which earned more than 100 million yuan ($13.5 million).

Talk of a ban emerged at an international movie industry conference in Macau in early December, when MPAA representatives and Hollywood executives leaked details of the so-called ban just prior to broader U.S.-China trade talks.

At the high-level trade talks outside Beijing last week – at which film was not the focus of the agenda – U.S. trade officials said their Chinese counterparts expressed displeasure at the U.S. raising a legal complaint at the World Trade Organization in April over China’s efforts to protect intellectual property rights.

Film imports were not addressed in the terms of China’s accession to the WTO in 2000.

Hollywood has been pressing China for better market access and for better protection from the widespread Chinese manufacture and sale of illegal copies of movies from around the world.

China long has granted local films free reign at the boxoffice during the peak December moviegoing period by refusing release dates to imported films. Only 20 imported films are allowed to earn money for their non-Chinese distributors at the boxoffice each year. Another 20 films are allowed into China but paid only a flat fee. Most imports are censored.

Chinese film scholars said the threat of extending the typical December blackout of imported films into the New Year, real or unrealized, was a reaction to cultural differences with the U.S.

"In China, litigation means loss of face," Teng Jimeng, professor of film and American studies at Beijing’s Foreign Studies University told The Hollywood Reporter. "No brothers or partners would go to court to settle disputes. Litigation is the last resort, and they break relationship if litigation occurs. With China unable to break its trade relationship with the U.S. in reality, an unannounced ban is the choice, because it does not cost anything to return to the ‘business as usual’ state of affairs, say three months later."

Chinese movie theater owners and operators who make the bulk of their money in China from imported films expressed hope that the release of "Happyness" in January would signal that other imports also would soon be allowed.

"I am happy about it, but so far it’s the only one," said Wayne Zhang, general manager of the Xinyinglian cinema circuit’s six-screen, 831-seat multiplex in downtown Beijing, operated jointly by EDKO of Hong Kong. "Hollywood films have done really well this year, so a lot of theater owners will be happy. Chinese or foreign, we’re happy if the movies are good," Zhang said.

"Happyness" was submitted for import approval in the spring and at first was granted a Dec. 30 release date, said a Hollywood studio executive who declined to be named.

The film now has been granted a Jan. 17, 2008, release date and will be screened on 350-380 screens in digital projection theaters.

Smith, in Hong Kong this month to promote the opening of his new film, "I Am Legend," expressed disappointment that few of his films had managed to gain entry to China.

His "Bad Boys" was released in China in 1995 and earned 33 million yuan ($4.5 million) at the boxoffice, the Hollywood executive said, adding that it "remains to be seen if ‘Happyness’ is the only Hollywood movie that will be allowed in the first few months of the new year."

<font size=1>Source: Hollywood Reporter</font>

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Headline, Industry News

‘Happyness’ to break Chinese ban

A blackout barring Hollywood films from China will be broken by "Pursuit of Happyness," starring Will Smith, which Chinese state film import officials said Thursday will be released in January.

The Columbia Pictures release about a father struggling to raise a child on his own in 1980s San Francisco would dispel recent talk of a three-month ban of Hollywood films from Chinese cinemas.

" ‘Happiness Knocks at the Door’ is coming in January. We are planning what day to release it," Yuan Wenqiang, China Film Group Import Export Co. deputy manager said in a telephone interview, referring to the 2006 film by its Chinese title. Yuan declined further comment.

The unofficial ban of imported films, earlier denied by China Film Group executives, was thought to have come down from high in the Communist government, which long has moved to prevent what it calls "pollution" of local culture and to protect the struggling Chinese film industry.

China’s total 2006 boxoffice returns were 2.6 billion yuan ($352 million) in 2006, a fraction of the global boxoffice of $40 billion. This year, China’s four top-earning boxoffice hits all were from Hollywood, led by "Transformers," which earned more than 100 million yuan ($13.5 million).

Talk of a ban emerged at an international movie industry conference in Macau in early December, when MPAA representatives and Hollywood executives leaked details of the so-called ban just prior to broader U.S.-China trade talks.

At the high-level trade talks outside Beijing last week – at which film was not the focus of the agenda – U.S. trade officials said their Chinese counterparts expressed displeasure at the U.S. raising a legal complaint at the World Trade Organization in April over China’s efforts to protect intellectual property rights.

Film imports were not addressed in the terms of China’s accession to the WTO in 2000.

Hollywood has been pressing China for better market access and for better protection from the widespread Chinese manufacture and sale of illegal copies of movies from around the world.

China long has granted local films free reign at the boxoffice during the peak December moviegoing period by refusing release dates to imported films. Only 20 imported films are allowed to earn money for their non-Chinese distributors at the boxoffice each year. Another 20 films are allowed into China but paid only a flat fee. Most imports are censored.

Chinese film scholars said the threat of extending the typical December blackout of imported films into the New Year, real or unrealized, was a reaction to cultural differences with the U.S.

"In China, litigation means loss of face," Teng Jimeng, professor of film and American studies at Beijing’s Foreign Studies University told The Hollywood Reporter. "No brothers or partners would go to court to settle disputes. Litigation is the last resort, and they break relationship if litigation occurs. With China unable to break its trade relationship with the U.S. in reality, an unannounced ban is the choice, because it does not cost anything to return to the ‘business as usual’ state of affairs, say three months later."

Chinese movie theater owners and operators who make the bulk of their money in China from imported films expressed hope that the release of "Happyness" in January would signal that other imports also would soon be allowed.

"I am happy about it, but so far it’s the only one," said Wayne Zhang, general manager of the Xinyinglian cinema circuit’s six-screen, 831-seat multiplex in downtown Beijing, operated jointly by EDKO of Hong Kong. "Hollywood films have done really well this year, so a lot of theater owners will be happy. Chinese or foreign, we’re happy if the movies are good," Zhang said.

"Happyness" was submitted for import approval in the spring and at first was granted a Dec. 30 release date, said a Hollywood studio executive who declined to be named.

The film now has been granted a Jan. 17, 2008, release date and will be screened on 350-380 screens in digital projection theaters.

Smith, in Hong Kong this month to promote the opening of his new film, "I Am Legend," expressed disappointment that few of his films had managed to gain entry to China.

His "Bad Boys" was released in China in 1995 and earned 33 million yuan ($4.5 million) at the boxoffice, the Hollywood executive said, adding that it "remains to be seen if ‘Happyness’ is the only Hollywood movie that will be allowed in the first few months of the new year."

<font size=1>Source: Hollywood Reporter</font>

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Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Headline, Industry News

‘Happyness’ to break Chinese ban

A blackout barring Hollywood films from China will be broken by "Pursuit of Happyness," starring Will Smith, which Chinese state film import officials said Thursday will be released in January.

The Columbia Pictures release about a father struggling to raise a child on his own in 1980s San Francisco would dispel recent talk of a three-month ban of Hollywood films from Chinese cinemas.

" ‘Happiness Knocks at the Door’ is coming in January. We are planning what day to release it," Yuan Wenqiang, China Film Group Import Export Co. deputy manager said in a telephone interview, referring to the 2006 film by its Chinese title. Yuan declined further comment.

The unofficial ban of imported films, earlier denied by China Film Group executives, was thought to have come down from high in the Communist government, which long has moved to prevent what it calls "pollution" of local culture and to protect the struggling Chinese film industry.

China’s total 2006 boxoffice returns were 2.6 billion yuan ($352 million) in 2006, a fraction of the global boxoffice of $40 billion. This year, China’s four top-earning boxoffice hits all were from Hollywood, led by "Transformers," which earned more than 100 million yuan ($13.5 million).

Talk of a ban emerged at an international movie industry conference in Macau in early December, when MPAA representatives and Hollywood executives leaked details of the so-called ban just prior to broader U.S.-China trade talks.

At the high-level trade talks outside Beijing last week – at which film was not the focus of the agenda – U.S. trade officials said their Chinese counterparts expressed displeasure at the U.S. raising a legal complaint at the World Trade Organization in April over China’s efforts to protect intellectual property rights.

Film imports were not addressed in the terms of China’s accession to the WTO in 2000.

Hollywood has been pressing China for better market access and for better protection from the widespread Chinese manufacture and sale of illegal copies of movies from around the world.

China long has granted local films free reign at the boxoffice during the peak December moviegoing period by refusing release dates to imported films. Only 20 imported films are allowed to earn money for their non-Chinese distributors at the boxoffice each year. Another 20 films are allowed into China but paid only a flat fee. Most imports are censored.

Chinese film scholars said the threat of extending the typical December blackout of imported films into the New Year, real or unrealized, was a reaction to cultural differences with the U.S.

"In China, litigation means loss of face," Teng Jimeng, professor of film and American studies at Beijing’s Foreign Studies University told The Hollywood Reporter. "No brothers or partners would go to court to settle disputes. Litigation is the last resort, and they break relationship if litigation occurs. With China unable to break its trade relationship with the U.S. in reality, an unannounced ban is the choice, because it does not cost anything to return to the ‘business as usual’ state of affairs, say three months later."

Chinese movie theater owners and operators who make the bulk of their money in China from imported films expressed hope that the release of "Happyness" in January would signal that other imports also would soon be allowed.

"I am happy about it, but so far it’s the only one," said Wayne Zhang, general manager of the Xinyinglian cinema circuit’s six-screen, 831-seat multiplex in downtown Beijing, operated jointly by EDKO of Hong Kong. "Hollywood films have done really well this year, so a lot of theater owners will be happy. Chinese or foreign, we’re happy if the movies are good," Zhang said.

"Happyness" was submitted for import approval in the spring and at first was granted a Dec. 30 release date, said a Hollywood studio executive who declined to be named.

The film now has been granted a Jan. 17, 2008, release date and will be screened on 350-380 screens in digital projection theaters.

Smith, in Hong Kong this month to promote the opening of his new film, "I Am Legend," expressed disappointment that few of his films had managed to gain entry to China.

His "Bad Boys" was released in China in 1995 and earned 33 million yuan ($4.5 million) at the boxoffice, the Hollywood executive said, adding that it "remains to be seen if ‘Happyness’ is the only Hollywood movie that will be allowed in the first few months of the new year."

<font size=1>Source: Hollywood Reporter</font>

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Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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