90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
China Rising In Movies And Entertainment

China rising in movies and entertainment.  Its studios, its ambitions, its Hollywood—and ours.

In this Wednesday, June 19, 2013, file photo, Wanda Chairman Wang Jianlin applauds in front of the logo for Dalian Wanda Group during an event at a hotel in Beijing, China. (AP)

In this Wednesday, June 19, 2013, file photo, Wanda Chairman Wang Jianlin applauds in front of the logo for Dalian Wanda Group during an event at a hotel in Beijing, China. (AP)

“Titanic 3D” did a billion dollars in box office in China.  But “Lost in Thailand” did more – a full-on Chinese production.  “Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol” was huge in Beijing and Shanghai.  But “Painted Skin,” starring Chen Kun and Zhao Wei, was bigger.  “Men in Black III” did well in Chinese theaters.  Homegrown “Chinese Zodiac” did better.

The richest man in China is now building out China’s own vast Hollywood, complete with its own sign on a hill and its own huge global ambitions.

Up next On Point:  Hollywood, China, and the coming contest over global cultural preeminence.

- Tom Ashbrook


Laurie Burkitt, reporter for the Wall Street Journal covering the Chinese consumer sector, including entertainment and retail. (@lburkitt)

Michael Berry, professor of contemporary Chinese cultural studies at the University of California Santa Barbara. (@bairuiwen)

Jeffrey Chan, chief operating officer and director of Bona Film Group, a Chinese production and distribution company. Their film, “My Lucky Star” is currently #1 at the Chinese box office.

John Horn, staff writer for the Los Angeles Times covering the film business. (@jghorn)

From Tom’s Reading List

The Los Angeles Times: Wang Jianlin’s film studio plan in China has a Hollywood following – “Studio executives, talent agents and luminaries such as Leonardo DiCaprio, Nicole Kidman and Harvey Weinstein stood with Wang for the Sunday unveiling of the planned Oriental Movie Metropolis — an $8.2-billion project that would include 20 film and TV sound stages near Qingdao, along with a theme park, wax museum and space for an annual film festival.”

Variety: How China’s Homegrown Biz Is Threatening Hollywood’s Payday – “Yes, the China box office is growing, but not for everyone. In the current year, ticket sales for local films increased 144% to $1.12 billion, while imported films saw a 21% slump to $670 million — despite the relaxing of quotas. 

The Hollywood Reporter: Zhang Ziyi Tops China Box Office With Romantic Spy Movie ‘My Lucky Star’ – “The movie features Zhang as a cartoonist named Sophie who becomes involved with a mysterious man named David, played by Taiwanese heartthrob Wang Leehom. Sophie finds herself at the center of an international diamond heist, and increasingly drawn to David. Action takes place in Asian hotspots such as Singapore, Hong Kong, Macau and the Chinese mainland.’Our goal was to make a real Chinese movie for Chinese audiences that would feel Chinese and be in Chinese, but it would have a specific Hollywood style — because that would be something new,’ Gordon told local media.”

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • Wm_James_from_Missouri

    Doctor, what is your prognosis for America? Does the family need to be making arrangements ?

    • sickofthechit

      Maybe the family should have thought twice before buying all that made in china crap at Walmart!

  • creaker

    They are finally outsourcing Hollywood – it was fun while it lasted.

  • Lars Grant-West

    I’m assuming they’ll be able to attract foreign (e.g. American) filmmakers to China, in large part because it avoids all the Union costs in California. Can any of your guests speak more to that?

    • J__o__h__n

      That will hurt Canada more as they already do that.

  • sickofthechit

    Scads of I-Max theaters across China? Sounds like they are preparing for a real world remake of Soylant Green! Yikes! Numb the masses to their misery with overwhelming cinematic experiences. charles a. bowsher

  • Jim

    i support chinese movie making… but i think giving an oscar for best picture to crunching tiger hidden dragon was a mockery to chinese culture. i think the oscar committee is repleted with abnormal political creatures.

  • creaker

    So how long before the Chinese government is a major decider on what we here in the US see and don’t see on the big screen?

  • J__o__h__n

    I don’t see much diversity in American movies produced for the international market. Yet another superhero movie . . .

  • AC

    i’ve been complaining for a while how risk aversion is ruining talent here. honestly. i REFUSE to see remakes. sick of them! thank goodness for kickstarter and the internet. hollywood’s dooming itself!

  • J__o__h__n

    I’m more alarmed about chicken processing going to China and not having it labeled as such.

  • ToyYoda

    I find Chinese films (outside of the kung fu flicks) to be more complex, more nuanced than American films and often lacks the cardboard cutout characters that American films have.

    If Hollywood needs to cater to this more sophisticated taste, I think it would be good for America.

  • AC

    ? i love foreign language films!! my FAV films are out of So Korea

  • ShibumiMC

    China faces prospect of making movie about founding of the country; but even more importantly – telling a wonderful global story – about how nations can be built – without conflict. Here’s a story whose time has come. perhaps Wanda Chairman Wang Jianlin will take up this challenge. Finally, the full and true story of Qin Shi Huang, the
    first empire and the emperor’s terra cotta “army” is here:

  • harverdphd

    Hero – is my favorite movie of all time followed closely by – House of Flying Daggers -

  • Gaytha5

    Just returned from Qingdao and Guangzhou, China, where I observed an interest in everything modern, and a love for things “western” coupled with a pride in things Chinese. Best not to underestimate the diversity of tastes that exist in China. In my view, a simplistic formula for success of films in that market is ill-advised, and rather, an emphasis on film quality might be a better approach. Good storytelling is universal.

  • http://remisquotable.blogspot.com/ Potomacker

    Even the Chinese know not to trust the statistics coming from China. This program paid too little attention to SARFT and even less to the fact that most mainland Chinese get most entertainment free online or from bootleg DVDs in violation of the WTO. The mainland Chinese market is not the same as the Chinese language market. For example, the Taiwanese entertainment industry is much more profitable and more developed than on the mainland.
    This program is one that deserves far more background to explain that the PRC regards film exports as part of its soft power campaign. These recent events merely confirm that.

Aug 21, 2014
In this November 2012, file photo, posted on the website freejamesfoley.org, shows American journalist James Foley while covering the civil war in Aleppo, Syria. In a horrifying act of revenge for U.S. airstrikes in northern Iraq, militants with the Islamic State extremist group have beheaded Foley — and are threatening to kill another hostage, U.S. officials say. (AP)

An American is beheaded. We’ll look at the ferocity of ISIS, and what to do about it.

Aug 21, 2014
Jen Joyce, a community manager for the Uber rideshare service, works on a laptop before a meeting of the Seattle City Council, Monday, March 17, 2014, at City Hall in Seattle. (AP)

We’ll look at workers trying to live and make a living in the age of TaskRabbit and computer-driven work schedules.

Aug 20, 2014
In this Oct. 21, 2013 file photo, a monarch butterfly lands on a confetti lantana plant in San Antonio. A half-century ago Monarch butterflies, tired, hungry and bursting to lay eggs, found plenty of nourishment flying across Texas. Native white-flowering balls of antelope milkweed covered grasslands, growing alongside nectar-filled wildflowers. But now, these orange-and-black winged butterflies find mostly buildings, manicured lawns and toxic, pesticide-filled plants. (AP)

This year’s monarch butterfly migration is the smallest ever recorded. We’ll ask why. It’s a big story. Plus: how climate change is creating new hybridized species.

Aug 20, 2014
A man holds his hands up in the street after a standoff with police Monday, Aug. 18, 2014, during a protest for Michael Brown, who was killed by a police officer Aug. 9 in Ferguson, Mo. (AP)

A deep read on Ferguson, Missouri and what we’re seeing about race, class, hope and fear in America.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Your (Weird? Wonderful? Wacky?) Roommate Stories
Tuesday, Aug 19, 2014

We asked, and you delivered: some of the best roommate stories from across our many listener input channels.

More »
1 Comment
Our Week In The Web (August 15, 2014)
Friday, Aug 15, 2014

On Pinterest, Thomas the Tank Engine and surprising population trends from around the country. Also, words on why we respond to your words, tweets and Facebook posts.

More »
Nickel Creek Plays Three Songs LIVE For On Point
Wednesday, Aug 13, 2014

Nickel Creek shares three live (well, mostly) tracks from their interview with On Point Radio.

More »