Business / Industries

Local film companies focus on co-productions

(Xinhua) Updated: 2016-01-11 07:34

Local film companies focus on co-productions

Chinese film industry luminaries gather for the Chinese film week at the 28th Tokyo International Film Festival in Tokyo in October 2015.[Photo/China Daily]

Movie-makers seek to regale overseas audiences with Chinese stories

Last year has been historic for China's film industry.

As of Dec 3, China's total box office sales for 2015 reached a record high of 40.05 billion yuan ($6.18 billion), according to statistics from the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television.

Notably, with the domestic film market flourishing, trademarks of some of China's major private film companies, such as Wanda and Huayi Brothers, can be seen in several Hollywood blockbusters released over the year, including "Southpaw" and "Mission Impossible-Rogue Nation."

Having taken the country's film industry to the next level, it is becoming clear that China's film giants are looking to explore the global film market.

Chinese films have a long history of being exported. Some of them succeeded overseas with awards at prestigious international film festivals, while others drew a solid fanbase abroad.

Despite recently signed agreements with 13 countries on film co-production, many Chinese films failed to make a big global impact and most of the overseas audiences are actually Chinese, according to Luan Guozhi, deputy director of the film board of the SARFT.

In order to improve the situation in recent years, several major private film companies in China have joined Chinese films going abroad, seeking to cooperate with companies in Hollywood.

Companies like Wanda and Huayi Brothers have resorted to taking part in film production, investing and others, a report published by Peking University on film industry showed.

For example, Huayi Brothers co-produced a couple of reputed films such as the thriller "The Gift" with major film companies in the United States. Alibaba Pictures, which is affiliated to e-commerce giant Alibaba, invested in the latest "Mission Impossible" movie.

"Hollywood is more keen on working with those in the film industry, after all," said Yu Dong, CEO of Bona Film Group, another major Chinese film company. "They know better how to make it in the business."

Despite the initial honeymoon period for companies pairing with foreign counterparts, the future remains fuzzy.

"We still find it hard to make foreign audiences understand what's behind our films," Luan from the SARFT admits. "More co-produced films make it easier, but we need to have more say in it (the process)."

Luan is referring to the huge differences between Chinese film companies in terms of scale, experience, creativity and others.

According to the Peking University report, these differences are what make Hollywood more hesitant when cooperating with some companies.

"Money is crucial, but that's just one part of the story," said Chen Shaofeng, the Peking University professor who led the research. "A bigger international talent pool is also required as it's the basis of any cooperation between us and Hollywood."

As for the future, Yu Dong believed as Bona gets stronger with more money and talent, hard work will pay off and the foreign market will open further.

"I'll fly to Los Angeles more often in 2016, and hopefully our growing strength will play a big part," Yu said.

"Respect comes from the strength of our companies, which is even more significant than the cooperation itself," Chen said.


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