China vs Hollywood filmmaking ambitions: No match yet

Despite impressive progress in filmmaking, China’s box office yet no match for Hollywood.

With China a major force in most parts of the world economy, home to the world’s largest population of cinemas and cinema-goers, is cinema going to be far behind when compared to the best?

When can we see the next George Lucas or Stephen Speilberg from China?

Nine of the top 10 box office earners of all time have been made in Hollywood (Dr Zhivago the only exception), so Hollywood is still the world’s dominant film maker.

And if Hollywood reigns supreme, the Star Wars franchise (by Lucas Films) still has an awesome globe-dominating appeal. The latest Lucas Films offering.

So there is no question of Hollywood’s demise yet. But how soon before this dominance fades away?

Here are few things that works in favor of China.

  • China has overtaken the US in terms of its total of cinema screens.
  • Chinese entertainment conglomerates like Jianlin and Dalian Wanda are in the process of becoming the world’s dominant cinema-owners, and a significant force in the film industry worldwide (Wang’s aim is to control 40 to 50 per cent of the global movie-going market by 2026.)
  • China is home to the world’s largest population of cinemas and cinema-goers
  • Chinese entertainment groups have been investing heavily in the US film industry in recent times.

However, despite these positives, China may not be a global box-office force (like George Lucas or Stephen Speilberg) any time soon.

  • Its because Americans watch at least four times as many films every year (compared to Chinese).
  • Despite the reputation of producers like Zhang Yimou, Chen Kaige, Wong Karwai or Feng Xiaogang inside China, few are known outside Asia (Taiwan-born Ang Lee is much more famous)