Oct 24, 2017
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Why Hollywood’s box office is banking on Beijing

The Fate of the Furious is essentially one long, ridiculously expensive hip-hop video, but it also had the biggest global box office debut in history, beating out Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

It took in about $100 million in North America on opening weekend — but nearly double that in mainland China, becoming the highest grossing Hollywood movie in that country.

Vin Diesel vs. Darth Vader? No contest.

By the end of this year, Chinese box office revenues are projected to surpass those of the U.S. That’s a stunning rise for a country that allows only 34 foreign films for distribution annually and that only started showing foreign titles in 1994, with The Fugitive starring Harrison Ford. Not surprisingly, Hollywood has taken notice.

“It’s such a huge market that you can’t take it for granted and it’s just accelerating at a massive pace,” says Arnie Zipursky, who was executive producer of the historical drama Iron Road, a 2009 China-Canada co-production that starred Peter O’Toole about the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway. “In China, the numbers alone are staggering. We’re excited if a million or two people see our film. But that’s just a drop in the bucket for China.”

If any movie demonstrates the importance of the domestic Chinese market to Hollywood it’s The Great Wall, released in February.

Starring Matt Damon as a mercenary who finds himself trapped in China fighting bizarre, computer-generated Day-Glo monsters, it’s the highest-budgeted film made in China for a domestic-first market. In a studio gamble, the $160-million co-production was aimed at mainland Chinese audiences.

Though the movie was flailed by critics, it sent a clear message to the industry: America is not always the primary market.

“That’s a radical shift,” says Charlie Keil, principal of the University of Toronto’s Cinema Studies Institute. “And Hollywood is still trying to figure out how they fit in this new world order.”

In March, Warner Bros. opened a splashy new office in Beijing, joining other production houses in setting up shop. That’s not unlike Ford building an auto plant in Shanghai to build cars solely for the domestic market, which it does. But for American movie studios operate in a similar way was virtually unheard of until recently.

At the same time, Chinese companies have been snapping up American producers and distributors. Real estate developer Wang Jianlin, one of China’s richest men, purchased AMC Theatres for $2.6 billion. He also picked up Legendary Pictures (Kong: Skull Island) for $3.5 billion. And this year, he made a failed attempt to buy Dick Clark Productions, the company that produces the New Year’s Eve countdown in Times Square, for $1 billion.

“As China has expanded economically and politically, it has worked to spread its influence through hard and soft power,” says Lynette Ong, acting director of the Dr. David Chu Program in Contemporary Asian Studies at the Munk School of Global Affairs and an associate professor at the University of Toronto.

Hard power comes through increases in military spending, various forms of foreign aid or infrastructure building. Soft power concerns the use of persuasion, including the tools of diplomacy or even academia, such as the controversial Confucius Institutes set up in overseas colleges and funded by Beijing to promote Chinese culture.

It could also mean controlling the medium that most people watch: movies and television. The jury is still out on whether China wants to manipulate minds or simply make money. It’s likely both.

Already North American audiences are used to seeing a lot more Chinese actors and locales in films. There’s a reason why X-Men: Days of Future Past would feature Chinese star Fan Bing Bing or have scenes shot in Hong Kong. Or why the action in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen inexplicably shifts to Shanghai.

That’s also why producers decided that the Mandarin villain in Iron Man 3 would be better portrayed by a western actor, not an ethnically Chinese one, and why the Ancient One in Doctor Strange is Celtic, not Tibetan. Or why the villains in Red Dawn were changed in post-production to North Korean instead of Chinese.

The downside is that these kinds of omissions, whether instigated by Chinese-owned companies or self-censorship, present a distorted narrative that could verge on propaganda, a tool that China is not unfamiliar with.

The upside is that, in an era of Hollywood So White, where much of Chinese culture has been told through the eyes of the suits in Los Angeles, this becomes an opportunity for the Chinese to control their own narrative.

“The victors have always written history; they become the heroes in the set piece,” says Ong.

Years of Charlie Chan depictions or using white actors for Asian roles — such as the recent Ghost in the Shell starring Scarlett Johansson — have certainly stung. And perhaps this is one way to correct a historic imbalance. But questions remain as to how much the pendulum will shift.

“The studios are so desperate for that massive population of potential ticket buyers, especially when you have declining revenues in the United States, that they are willing to make concessions in their films,” says U of T’s Keil. However, he doesn’t see this as necessarily nefarious.

“Hollywood wouldn’t call it censorship; they would call it regulation. They don’t want to alienate any market. They are in the business of entertainment.”

But in the new order, no one is immune. Actor Richard Gere, a supporter of Tibetan independence, recently told Vanity Fair that he was dumped by mainstream Hollywood because he was toxic to China and that some producers worried that their films wouldn’t get funding.

“There are definitely movies that I can’t be in because the Chinese will say, ‘Not with him,’” said Gere.

The greatest impact may be not just in the choice of stars but in the genre of work green-lit as China starts to skew the economics.

Thoughtful, plot-driven drama may not be top of mind to producers. Action films like Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation, whose major investor was Alibaba’s Jack Ma, are likely more translatable to global audiences than culturally specific, slower-moving dramas or comedies.

The CGI-heavy, video-game-based Warcraft, for example, has a 28 per cent Rotten Tomatoes score but became one of China’s top-grossing films of all time, underscoring the importance of the Chinese market to American producers who are looking to hedge their bets.

Still, making big tent-pole productions is not always the way to go. And perhaps this is where Canada can play a role in the burgeoning market.

“We’re not going to be doing Transformers part 9. It’s very difficult for Canadian producers to do big epics, but we can still do films that appeal to the Chinese market,” says Michael Parker, who owns the Vancouver-based independent production company Holiday Pictures along with Hong Kong-born wife Shan Tam.

Their modestly budgeted rom-com Finding Mr. Right was huge at the Chinese box office, ending up in the Top 10 for 2013 along with the likes of heavily marketed science fiction like Iron Man 3 and Pacific Rim.

In the movie, a woman moves from China to Seattle (with Vancouver standing in for Seattle) and ends up finding love in America.

“The movie was such a hit that Seattle prices started to go crazy from Chinese buying there, even though it was shot in Vancouver,” Parker says.

He recently wrapped shooting a TV series based on the film.

Producers like Parker and Tam have long seen the potential of the Chinese market. They acted as line producers in the 1995 film Rumble in the Bronx, realizing even at the time that it was a watershed moment for Chinese film.

Rumble was the breakthrough work that would introduce Hong Kong star Jackie Chan to a wider audience.

“He was the biggest action star that North Americans had never heard of,” says Parker.

With the exception of a few exterior New York shots, most of Bronx was shot in Vancouver and in the Woodward’s Department Store downtown. That put Canada on the map for Chinese producers looking to break into the American market.

By all measures, there should be more Parkers and Tams. Pound for pound, Canada should at least be keeping up with Hollywood, if not beating it at its own game. After all, Asian immigration here has meant a skilled and educated workforce that has natural ties to China. And there is no shortage of moviemaking expertise in Hollywood North.

But that hasn’t been the case. Some analysts point to everything from lack of access to funding and infrastructure to a dearth of entrepreneurial drive for the absence of more co-productions.

That’s something that Telefilm Canada, which has a mandate to promote and fund Canadian film, hopes to change.

Carolle Brabant, Telefilm’s general director, and Canadian Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly visited China in January to promote Canadian filmmaking.

“There is a real push right now by our government to increase our collaboration and the conversations have been very positive. I think on both sides we are really not just interested, but engaged,” says Brabant. “Doing co-productions is like finding a partner for life . . . and hopefully we will see the results. This is how it starts.”

Brabant says tapping talent like Chinese-Canadian filmmakers Yung Chang (Up The Yangtze) or Johnny Ma (Old Stone) is the future bridge to more co-productions.

“We have so many natural connections between our two countries that we share many similar stories.”

While Finding Mr. Right barely registered in its North American release, it shows that films made for export to the China market are possible using Canadian talent.

But in today’s environment, it’s not necessary for a movie to do well in North America. Stephen Chow’s 2016 fantasyThe Mermaid, based on the Hans Christian Andersen tale, barely took in $1 million on opening weekend in the U.S. Yet the movie, nearly unknown here, is the highest grossing film of all time in China, earning more than half a billion U.S. dollars.

In second place is Fate of the Furious with predecessor Furious 7 in fourth place. Avatar, the highest grossing Hollywood movie of all time, is in 15th place.

So never mind Darth Vader. Vin Diesel is the real king of Pandora.

Source: Toronto Star

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Front Page, Headline, Industry News

Why Hollywood’s box office is banking on Beijing

The Fate of the Furious is essentially one long, ridiculously expensive hip-hop video, but it also had the biggest global box office debut in history, beating out Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

It took in about $100 million in North America on opening weekend — but nearly double that in mainland China, becoming the highest grossing Hollywood movie in that country.

Vin Diesel vs. Darth Vader? No contest.

By the end of this year, Chinese box office revenues are projected to surpass those of the U.S. That’s a stunning rise for a country that allows only 34 foreign films for distribution annually and that only started showing foreign titles in 1994, with The Fugitive starring Harrison Ford. Not surprisingly, Hollywood has taken notice.

“It’s such a huge market that you can’t take it for granted and it’s just accelerating at a massive pace,” says Arnie Zipursky, who was executive producer of the historical drama Iron Road, a 2009 China-Canada co-production that starred Peter O’Toole about the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway. “In China, the numbers alone are staggering. We’re excited if a million or two people see our film. But that’s just a drop in the bucket for China.”

If any movie demonstrates the importance of the domestic Chinese market to Hollywood it’s The Great Wall, released in February.

Starring Matt Damon as a mercenary who finds himself trapped in China fighting bizarre, computer-generated Day-Glo monsters, it’s the highest-budgeted film made in China for a domestic-first market. In a studio gamble, the $160-million co-production was aimed at mainland Chinese audiences.

Though the movie was flailed by critics, it sent a clear message to the industry: America is not always the primary market.

“That’s a radical shift,” says Charlie Keil, principal of the University of Toronto’s Cinema Studies Institute. “And Hollywood is still trying to figure out how they fit in this new world order.”

In March, Warner Bros. opened a splashy new office in Beijing, joining other production houses in setting up shop. That’s not unlike Ford building an auto plant in Shanghai to build cars solely for the domestic market, which it does. But for American movie studios operate in a similar way was virtually unheard of until recently.

At the same time, Chinese companies have been snapping up American producers and distributors. Real estate developer Wang Jianlin, one of China’s richest men, purchased AMC Theatres for $2.6 billion. He also picked up Legendary Pictures (Kong: Skull Island) for $3.5 billion. And this year, he made a failed attempt to buy Dick Clark Productions, the company that produces the New Year’s Eve countdown in Times Square, for $1 billion.

“As China has expanded economically and politically, it has worked to spread its influence through hard and soft power,” says Lynette Ong, acting director of the Dr. David Chu Program in Contemporary Asian Studies at the Munk School of Global Affairs and an associate professor at the University of Toronto.

Hard power comes through increases in military spending, various forms of foreign aid or infrastructure building. Soft power concerns the use of persuasion, including the tools of diplomacy or even academia, such as the controversial Confucius Institutes set up in overseas colleges and funded by Beijing to promote Chinese culture.

It could also mean controlling the medium that most people watch: movies and television. The jury is still out on whether China wants to manipulate minds or simply make money. It’s likely both.

Already North American audiences are used to seeing a lot more Chinese actors and locales in films. There’s a reason why X-Men: Days of Future Past would feature Chinese star Fan Bing Bing or have scenes shot in Hong Kong. Or why the action in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen inexplicably shifts to Shanghai.

That’s also why producers decided that the Mandarin villain in Iron Man 3 would be better portrayed by a western actor, not an ethnically Chinese one, and why the Ancient One in Doctor Strange is Celtic, not Tibetan. Or why the villains in Red Dawn were changed in post-production to North Korean instead of Chinese.

The downside is that these kinds of omissions, whether instigated by Chinese-owned companies or self-censorship, present a distorted narrative that could verge on propaganda, a tool that China is not unfamiliar with.

The upside is that, in an era of Hollywood So White, where much of Chinese culture has been told through the eyes of the suits in Los Angeles, this becomes an opportunity for the Chinese to control their own narrative.

“The victors have always written history; they become the heroes in the set piece,” says Ong.

Years of Charlie Chan depictions or using white actors for Asian roles — such as the recent Ghost in the Shell starring Scarlett Johansson — have certainly stung. And perhaps this is one way to correct a historic imbalance. But questions remain as to how much the pendulum will shift.

“The studios are so desperate for that massive population of potential ticket buyers, especially when you have declining revenues in the United States, that they are willing to make concessions in their films,” says U of T’s Keil. However, he doesn’t see this as necessarily nefarious.

“Hollywood wouldn’t call it censorship; they would call it regulation. They don’t want to alienate any market. They are in the business of entertainment.”

But in the new order, no one is immune. Actor Richard Gere, a supporter of Tibetan independence, recently told Vanity Fair that he was dumped by mainstream Hollywood because he was toxic to China and that some producers worried that their films wouldn’t get funding.

“There are definitely movies that I can’t be in because the Chinese will say, ‘Not with him,’” said Gere.

The greatest impact may be not just in the choice of stars but in the genre of work green-lit as China starts to skew the economics.

Thoughtful, plot-driven drama may not be top of mind to producers. Action films like Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation, whose major investor was Alibaba’s Jack Ma, are likely more translatable to global audiences than culturally specific, slower-moving dramas or comedies.

The CGI-heavy, video-game-based Warcraft, for example, has a 28 per cent Rotten Tomatoes score but became one of China’s top-grossing films of all time, underscoring the importance of the Chinese market to American producers who are looking to hedge their bets.

Still, making big tent-pole productions is not always the way to go. And perhaps this is where Canada can play a role in the burgeoning market.

“We’re not going to be doing Transformers part 9. It’s very difficult for Canadian producers to do big epics, but we can still do films that appeal to the Chinese market,” says Michael Parker, who owns the Vancouver-based independent production company Holiday Pictures along with Hong Kong-born wife Shan Tam.

Their modestly budgeted rom-com Finding Mr. Right was huge at the Chinese box office, ending up in the Top 10 for 2013 along with the likes of heavily marketed science fiction like Iron Man 3 and Pacific Rim.

In the movie, a woman moves from China to Seattle (with Vancouver standing in for Seattle) and ends up finding love in America.

“The movie was such a hit that Seattle prices started to go crazy from Chinese buying there, even though it was shot in Vancouver,” Parker says.

He recently wrapped shooting a TV series based on the film.

Producers like Parker and Tam have long seen the potential of the Chinese market. They acted as line producers in the 1995 film Rumble in the Bronx, realizing even at the time that it was a watershed moment for Chinese film.

Rumble was the breakthrough work that would introduce Hong Kong star Jackie Chan to a wider audience.

“He was the biggest action star that North Americans had never heard of,” says Parker.

With the exception of a few exterior New York shots, most of Bronx was shot in Vancouver and in the Woodward’s Department Store downtown. That put Canada on the map for Chinese producers looking to break into the American market.

By all measures, there should be more Parkers and Tams. Pound for pound, Canada should at least be keeping up with Hollywood, if not beating it at its own game. After all, Asian immigration here has meant a skilled and educated workforce that has natural ties to China. And there is no shortage of moviemaking expertise in Hollywood North.

But that hasn’t been the case. Some analysts point to everything from lack of access to funding and infrastructure to a dearth of entrepreneurial drive for the absence of more co-productions.

That’s something that Telefilm Canada, which has a mandate to promote and fund Canadian film, hopes to change.

Carolle Brabant, Telefilm’s general director, and Canadian Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly visited China in January to promote Canadian filmmaking.

“There is a real push right now by our government to increase our collaboration and the conversations have been very positive. I think on both sides we are really not just interested, but engaged,” says Brabant. “Doing co-productions is like finding a partner for life . . . and hopefully we will see the results. This is how it starts.”

Brabant says tapping talent like Chinese-Canadian filmmakers Yung Chang (Up The Yangtze) or Johnny Ma (Old Stone) is the future bridge to more co-productions.

“We have so many natural connections between our two countries that we share many similar stories.”

While Finding Mr. Right barely registered in its North American release, it shows that films made for export to the China market are possible using Canadian talent.

But in today’s environment, it’s not necessary for a movie to do well in North America. Stephen Chow’s 2016 fantasyThe Mermaid, based on the Hans Christian Andersen tale, barely took in $1 million on opening weekend in the U.S. Yet the movie, nearly unknown here, is the highest grossing film of all time in China, earning more than half a billion U.S. dollars.

In second place is Fate of the Furious with predecessor Furious 7 in fourth place. Avatar, the highest grossing Hollywood movie of all time, is in 15th place.

So never mind Darth Vader. Vin Diesel is the real king of Pandora.

Source: Toronto Star

Leave a Reply

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

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Front Page, Headline, Industry News

Why Hollywood’s box office is banking on Beijing

The Fate of the Furious is essentially one long, ridiculously expensive hip-hop video, but it also had the biggest global box office debut in history, beating out Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

It took in about $100 million in North America on opening weekend — but nearly double that in mainland China, becoming the highest grossing Hollywood movie in that country.

Vin Diesel vs. Darth Vader? No contest.

By the end of this year, Chinese box office revenues are projected to surpass those of the U.S. That’s a stunning rise for a country that allows only 34 foreign films for distribution annually and that only started showing foreign titles in 1994, with The Fugitive starring Harrison Ford. Not surprisingly, Hollywood has taken notice.

“It’s such a huge market that you can’t take it for granted and it’s just accelerating at a massive pace,” says Arnie Zipursky, who was executive producer of the historical drama Iron Road, a 2009 China-Canada co-production that starred Peter O’Toole about the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway. “In China, the numbers alone are staggering. We’re excited if a million or two people see our film. But that’s just a drop in the bucket for China.”

If any movie demonstrates the importance of the domestic Chinese market to Hollywood it’s The Great Wall, released in February.

Starring Matt Damon as a mercenary who finds himself trapped in China fighting bizarre, computer-generated Day-Glo monsters, it’s the highest-budgeted film made in China for a domestic-first market. In a studio gamble, the $160-million co-production was aimed at mainland Chinese audiences.

Though the movie was flailed by critics, it sent a clear message to the industry: America is not always the primary market.

“That’s a radical shift,” says Charlie Keil, principal of the University of Toronto’s Cinema Studies Institute. “And Hollywood is still trying to figure out how they fit in this new world order.”

In March, Warner Bros. opened a splashy new office in Beijing, joining other production houses in setting up shop. That’s not unlike Ford building an auto plant in Shanghai to build cars solely for the domestic market, which it does. But for American movie studios operate in a similar way was virtually unheard of until recently.

At the same time, Chinese companies have been snapping up American producers and distributors. Real estate developer Wang Jianlin, one of China’s richest men, purchased AMC Theatres for $2.6 billion. He also picked up Legendary Pictures (Kong: Skull Island) for $3.5 billion. And this year, he made a failed attempt to buy Dick Clark Productions, the company that produces the New Year’s Eve countdown in Times Square, for $1 billion.

“As China has expanded economically and politically, it has worked to spread its influence through hard and soft power,” says Lynette Ong, acting director of the Dr. David Chu Program in Contemporary Asian Studies at the Munk School of Global Affairs and an associate professor at the University of Toronto.

Hard power comes through increases in military spending, various forms of foreign aid or infrastructure building. Soft power concerns the use of persuasion, including the tools of diplomacy or even academia, such as the controversial Confucius Institutes set up in overseas colleges and funded by Beijing to promote Chinese culture.

It could also mean controlling the medium that most people watch: movies and television. The jury is still out on whether China wants to manipulate minds or simply make money. It’s likely both.

Already North American audiences are used to seeing a lot more Chinese actors and locales in films. There’s a reason why X-Men: Days of Future Past would feature Chinese star Fan Bing Bing or have scenes shot in Hong Kong. Or why the action in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen inexplicably shifts to Shanghai.

That’s also why producers decided that the Mandarin villain in Iron Man 3 would be better portrayed by a western actor, not an ethnically Chinese one, and why the Ancient One in Doctor Strange is Celtic, not Tibetan. Or why the villains in Red Dawn were changed in post-production to North Korean instead of Chinese.

The downside is that these kinds of omissions, whether instigated by Chinese-owned companies or self-censorship, present a distorted narrative that could verge on propaganda, a tool that China is not unfamiliar with.

The upside is that, in an era of Hollywood So White, where much of Chinese culture has been told through the eyes of the suits in Los Angeles, this becomes an opportunity for the Chinese to control their own narrative.

“The victors have always written history; they become the heroes in the set piece,” says Ong.

Years of Charlie Chan depictions or using white actors for Asian roles — such as the recent Ghost in the Shell starring Scarlett Johansson — have certainly stung. And perhaps this is one way to correct a historic imbalance. But questions remain as to how much the pendulum will shift.

“The studios are so desperate for that massive population of potential ticket buyers, especially when you have declining revenues in the United States, that they are willing to make concessions in their films,” says U of T’s Keil. However, he doesn’t see this as necessarily nefarious.

“Hollywood wouldn’t call it censorship; they would call it regulation. They don’t want to alienate any market. They are in the business of entertainment.”

But in the new order, no one is immune. Actor Richard Gere, a supporter of Tibetan independence, recently told Vanity Fair that he was dumped by mainstream Hollywood because he was toxic to China and that some producers worried that their films wouldn’t get funding.

“There are definitely movies that I can’t be in because the Chinese will say, ‘Not with him,’” said Gere.

The greatest impact may be not just in the choice of stars but in the genre of work green-lit as China starts to skew the economics.

Thoughtful, plot-driven drama may not be top of mind to producers. Action films like Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation, whose major investor was Alibaba’s Jack Ma, are likely more translatable to global audiences than culturally specific, slower-moving dramas or comedies.

The CGI-heavy, video-game-based Warcraft, for example, has a 28 per cent Rotten Tomatoes score but became one of China’s top-grossing films of all time, underscoring the importance of the Chinese market to American producers who are looking to hedge their bets.

Still, making big tent-pole productions is not always the way to go. And perhaps this is where Canada can play a role in the burgeoning market.

“We’re not going to be doing Transformers part 9. It’s very difficult for Canadian producers to do big epics, but we can still do films that appeal to the Chinese market,” says Michael Parker, who owns the Vancouver-based independent production company Holiday Pictures along with Hong Kong-born wife Shan Tam.

Their modestly budgeted rom-com Finding Mr. Right was huge at the Chinese box office, ending up in the Top 10 for 2013 along with the likes of heavily marketed science fiction like Iron Man 3 and Pacific Rim.

In the movie, a woman moves from China to Seattle (with Vancouver standing in for Seattle) and ends up finding love in America.

“The movie was such a hit that Seattle prices started to go crazy from Chinese buying there, even though it was shot in Vancouver,” Parker says.

He recently wrapped shooting a TV series based on the film.

Producers like Parker and Tam have long seen the potential of the Chinese market. They acted as line producers in the 1995 film Rumble in the Bronx, realizing even at the time that it was a watershed moment for Chinese film.

Rumble was the breakthrough work that would introduce Hong Kong star Jackie Chan to a wider audience.

“He was the biggest action star that North Americans had never heard of,” says Parker.

With the exception of a few exterior New York shots, most of Bronx was shot in Vancouver and in the Woodward’s Department Store downtown. That put Canada on the map for Chinese producers looking to break into the American market.

By all measures, there should be more Parkers and Tams. Pound for pound, Canada should at least be keeping up with Hollywood, if not beating it at its own game. After all, Asian immigration here has meant a skilled and educated workforce that has natural ties to China. And there is no shortage of moviemaking expertise in Hollywood North.

But that hasn’t been the case. Some analysts point to everything from lack of access to funding and infrastructure to a dearth of entrepreneurial drive for the absence of more co-productions.

That’s something that Telefilm Canada, which has a mandate to promote and fund Canadian film, hopes to change.

Carolle Brabant, Telefilm’s general director, and Canadian Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly visited China in January to promote Canadian filmmaking.

“There is a real push right now by our government to increase our collaboration and the conversations have been very positive. I think on both sides we are really not just interested, but engaged,” says Brabant. “Doing co-productions is like finding a partner for life . . . and hopefully we will see the results. This is how it starts.”

Brabant says tapping talent like Chinese-Canadian filmmakers Yung Chang (Up The Yangtze) or Johnny Ma (Old Stone) is the future bridge to more co-productions.

“We have so many natural connections between our two countries that we share many similar stories.”

While Finding Mr. Right barely registered in its North American release, it shows that films made for export to the China market are possible using Canadian talent.

But in today’s environment, it’s not necessary for a movie to do well in North America. Stephen Chow’s 2016 fantasyThe Mermaid, based on the Hans Christian Andersen tale, barely took in $1 million on opening weekend in the U.S. Yet the movie, nearly unknown here, is the highest grossing film of all time in China, earning more than half a billion U.S. dollars.

In second place is Fate of the Furious with predecessor Furious 7 in fourth place. Avatar, the highest grossing Hollywood movie of all time, is in 15th place.

So never mind Darth Vader. Vin Diesel is the real king of Pandora.

Source: Toronto Star

Leave a Reply

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

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

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