Hollywood Misses $500M Potential Windfall as China Holds Line on Foreign Film Quota

Hollywood Misses $500M Potential Windfall as China Holds Line on Foreign Film Quota

Studios had hoped the rumblings — that the republic would let in an additional 10 films — were true. They weren't

If Hollywood was hoping for a big bottom-line boost out of China, it's officially out of luck.

The republic's box office grew 27 percent last year to $3.6 billion and analysts predict it will soon become the biggest market for theatrical releases, but won't get there faster by increasing foreign films: Despite mutterings that China was flirting with expanding foreign releases from 34 to 44, the country's official Xinhua news agency said Tuesday that the film quota will remain firmly in place.

Also read: Hollywood Sets Its Sights on the Next China or Russia

That could cost Hollywood studios between $350 million to $500 million in ticket sales, Phil Contrino, vice president and chief analyst of BoxOffice.com estimated to TheWrap.

“It's unfortunate,” Contrino said. “For the market to reach its full potential it needs to have a mix of maintaining national pride while letting in beneficial foreign products.”

China expanded the number of foreign films it allows from 20 to 34 in 2012 as part of a new trade agreement with the United States. It also increased the share of ticket revenue studios received from 17.5 percent to 25 percent.

China has a love/hate relationship with the U.S. movie business. It recognizes that they have the know-how to produce huge, special effects-driven releases, but it worries that if it allows too many U.S. productions to screen in the country, it will come at the expense of its own local film business.

To bolster its domestic product, the country has instituted black-out periods, barring foreign films from screening, and has scheduled major U.S. productions such as “Gravity” and “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” to open against one another, depressing their ticket sales.

That strategy seems to be paying off. Seven of the country's top 10 grossing films in 2013 were Chinese. More recently,  Hong Kong-made “The Monkey King” dominated the Chinese box office, earning $35.4 million in its first two days of release.

  • Tangier

    China “holding the line on foreign films” is called Protectionism, the very evil that our polititians (led by Bill Clinton) told us had to go or we were doomed. Protectionism in the form of Trade Tarrifs used to protect our industry and our money, but Clinton and his cronies (including Barak Obama & all Republicans) needed to kiss the asses of the six richest in America and hand them the power to explode their wealth exponentially, so they lied to us and subsequently gave our economy to China. The media is, of course, nowhere to be seen on the matter. Now we are the victims of the same practices that made this country powerful and rich. All of this was done so that corrupt politicians could attract the money they needed to buy their elections. Does anyone remember John McCain wanting to get money out of national elections? That was our last chance to preserve democracy. The destruction of the Middle Class and Corporate Autocracy is the result.

    • Jammer

      Stop with your propaganda. This is not protectionism. It's called fair trade. You should be happy that Hollywood makes so much money from the Chinese box office. Do you see Chinese movies in US theaters make hundreds of millions every year? That's why it's not protectionism.

      Also the US hasn't handed its economy over to China. The vast majority of Made in China products aren't from Chinese companies. They're outsourced to China by foreign companies. How many Chinese brand names can you name? Less than you can count on one hand if any at all. Do you know what that means? It means China doesn't make the money coming from those products being sold. Is Apple a Chinese company? It says Made in China on Apple products. I bet you believe China uses slave labor to make those products, right? That means no one is being paid. So how is the US handing over it's economy to China? The fact is people like you would rather ignore the fact that where the money you say is going to China from American jobs is really going to the rich in your own country making more money outsourcing to slave labor in China. The reason why you ignore that fact and continue with the propaganda of blaming China is because you don't really care American jobs. It's a cover for whatever political agenda you have and because you care about Main Street America.

  • Daniel Sterling Sample

    The quota of Hollywood made films allowed on to Chinese screens will increase soon. Right now, the Hollywood Mafia is networking very hard inside China, trying to connect with Chinese officials who need to illegally move money out of China. Corrupted Hollywood will join with corrupted China. However, the Hollywood Mafia is very astute at money laundering, so don't hold your breath. Most of that Chinese box office will not actually find its way back to the American shore to be taxed. It will be funneled into banks around the world, including, incredibly, banks around the Persian Gulf……Daniel Sterling Sample in beautiful downtown Hollywood…..