Hollywood and the Chinese film market : crosscultural communication or commercial transaction? (2020)
Type of ContentTheses / Dissertations
Thesis DisciplineCultural Studies
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
PublisherUniversity of Canterbury
AuthorsLyu, Yafeishow all
Globalisation as a cultural as well as an economic phenomenon has led to more frequent communication and exchange across cultures. Hollywood has long been familiar with exporting American cultural values internationally as a means of soft power, but faces particular challenges in its attempts to enter the Chinese film market, the largest and potentially the most lucrative audience in the world. In order to be released and screened in China, Hollywood films must comply with a strict set of cultural policies. These include a quota system, which permits the importation of foreign films on a revenue-sharing basis, but limits them to 34 films per year, censorship by the film regulating sector in China before distribution and exhibition, and an uncertain release schedule. China has been the fastest-growing film market since 2008, hence, despite the restrictive cultural policies that they encounter, Hollywood producers, attracted by the promise of increased revenue, have developed various aesthetic and commercial strategies to please the Chinese film regulators and audiences in order to gain access to the Chinese film market, such as producing Chinese-themed Hollywood films, incorporating plots about China, casting Chinese renowned actors in cameo roles, adding Chinese film locations, placing Chinese products, and seeking China-US co-productions. For the large Hollywood studios, these methods provide effective strategies to circumvent Chinese cultural policies in the film sector; for China, they offer methods to export its cultural soft power and change the Orientalist stereotypes and images of China which have long circulated in the international community. As a result, the depiction of China and Chinese culture has become more positive and diverse in recent Hollywood blockbusters. In fact, the complicated interplay between Chinese cultural policies and Hollywood’s strategies for circumventing these policies illustrates how, through compromise, competition and collaboration, both in economic, political and cinematic terms, China and the United States negotiate the dynamic process of crosscultural exchange.