China’s influence on Hollywood is gaining momentum as Warcraft, a relative flop in the US, took $156m in China in the first five days.
Donald Tang, of Tang Media Partners, predicts that two of the six major US studios will be Chinese-owned within 10 years.
His company, Tang Media Partners, recently bought IM Global, a Hollywood film financier and sales agency.
In a recent article in the Financial Times, Tang said: “China is very cost-conscious and far more digitally oriented than the US. It relies much more on social and digital media to promote films. There is much that Hollywood can learn from China.”
The deal followed hot on the heels of Wanda Dalian’s acquisition of US film studio Legendary Entertainment for $3.5bn – the company behind Warcraft. The studio has also produced several major blockbusters including the Dark Knight trilogy, Jurassic World and the Hangover franchise.
According to an article in The Observer, many suggest that Warcraft’s massive success in China could prompt a sequel that sidesteps the US and instead is created specifically for the Chinese market.
At present, China limits the quota of foreign-made films released in the country each year to 34, which means that some Hollywood blockbusters fail to reach China's 1.4bn potential cinemagoers.
Wanda Dalian’s ownership of cinema chain, Wanda Cinema Line, ensured that 67% of China’s 39, 000 cinema screens showed Warcraft. The film’s takings in its first five days were over $30m more than Star Wars: The Force Awakens achieved in its entire run.
China’s cinema-goers are clearly hungry for content. The market is worth an estimated $8bn currently and, according to the Hollywood Reporter, is predicted to outstrip the US next year.
At the recent Shanghai Film Festival, martial arts super star, Jackie Chan, said that Warcraft’s success had “scared the Americans. If we can make a film that earns 10bn yuan (£1bn), then people from all over the world who want to study film will learn Chinese, instead of us having to learn English.”