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Putting ghost butts in seats

By Raymond Zhou ( China Daily ) Updated: 2015-10-19 07:14:34

Touching up box-office receipts as if they are on-screen special effects has the added lure of drawing in future investment. So much hot money is flowing into showbiz that a hit movie often brings several times the size of investment as the actual size of the film's budget.

That makes production companies and stars very happy because they can all raise their asking price for future projects. The result is a bubble that looks fantastic on the outside but may be pricked at any moment.

Fortunately, film is not like food or housing, where inflation and a bursting of the bubble, if not dealt with, will harm ordinary people.

Chinese investors in showbiz, like those who flock to Hollywood, do not usually spend their lunch money but more or less treat it as a luxury-and a gamble-anyway.

People in the film industry often say that what happens off screen is often more dramatic than action on screen. The same could be true of movie business deceit, which has evolved over the years.

First it was movie theaters underreporting box-office receipts so they could pocket the difference. Now it is film companies wanting to make the numbers more enticing than they actually are.

Regulators need to keep up with the ever-changing game to ensure health and fairness in the market.

Related:

When a good Samaritan becomes the target for extortion

For more stories by Raymond Zhou, click here

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