More 3D US films set for China theatrical distribution

20 February 2012 13 h 59 min Comments Off

According to China Daily and Xinhua, China has agreed to open its market to more US films and provide better terms to US studios whose films are released in the country.

“China and the United States have reached an agreement concerning issues related to films after their World Trade Organization dispute last year”, according to Xinhua News Agency. “This agreement with China will make it easier than ever before for US studios and independent filmmakers to reach the fast-growing Chinese audience, supporting thousands of American jobs in and around the film industry,” US Vice-President Joe Biden said in a statement.

The agreement came during Chinese Vice-President Xi Jinping’s five-day US visit, which ended on Friday.

According to several sources, this agreement would not change the annual quota of 20 revenue-sharing foreign films in Chinese theaters, but it allows 14 premium format films, such as 3-D and IMAX movies and similar enhanced format films, which will be exempt from the quota. More importantly, the US studios’ share of their films’ grosses in the Chinese market will rise to 25 percent, from about 13.5 to 17.5 percent now.

Chris Dodd, president of the Motion Picture Association of America, told “this pact is tremendous news for the millions of American workers and businesses whose jobs depend on the entertainment industry”.

In China Daily, Chinese director Gao Qunshu said “the agreement would bring more challenges for China’s filmmakers, but in the long term he believed in the power of competition in an open market. With 14 more foreign films, the market space for local productions will further shrink. There will be pressure, but taking the changes as a motivation to make better films is the only way out.”

The long waited agreement follows the case challenging China’s restrictions on the import and distribution of cultural products, which was won by the US at the WTO. According to reuters, “It will be reviewed in five years to see if it has functioned as envisioned”.

China’s box office has been growing at an annual rate of 30 percent since 2003, reaching $2.1 billion last year. Mainland China has become the highest-grossing overseas market for many Hollywood blockbusters, such as Transformers 3 and Avatar.

SOURCES: China Daily (20/02/12), reuters, LA Times (18, 19, 20/02/12)


. China and Hollywood team up for more co-productions (Business Week)

. Rupert Murdoch described China’s cinema market as “the most exciting in the world”

. China film market opening under heavy discussion


. Biden announces China-U.S. film agreement 18/02/12

. China to give studios more access
LA Times 18/02/12

. In China Movie Pact, More 3-D, Less Reality
NY Times  19/02/12

. How Hollywood and Joe Biden Got China to Drop a 20-Year Movie Quota
Reuters 20/02/12

. How ‘Avatar,’ Obama’s Personal Letter Helped U.S. Studios Gain More Access to China’s Market
Hollywood Reporter  24/02/12

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