Box office sales in China have attracted worldwide attention in recent years. The Chinese mainland's film market has overtaken that of Japan to become the world's second largest and the number of movie screens tops the world, according to media reports.
China's growing influence on global film production and world culture cannot be denied. China is expected to be the largest film market in the world by 2020, and the country is likely to become a new world film production center after Hollywood, Zhang Hongsen, deputy director of China's State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television was quoted as saying.
While Hollywood films dominated the Chinese film market in the past, domestically produced Chinese films have started to prevail and grabbed a place in the global film market. Take Operation Red Sea as an example. The military-themed blockbuster, loosely based on an evacuation of Chinese citizens and foreign nationals in the Yemeni Civil War, triggered strong national pride among Chinese and surpassed several foreign-made films at the Chinese mainland box office. Its extraordinary story-telling and filmmaking techniques also won it a reputation abroad.
Amid intense competition and an expansion of Chinese viewers, world-renowned filmmakers have started diverting their attention to the Chinese market. While they were adept at exporting Western values to China in the past, Western filmmaking giants have now started to incorporate Chinese influences in their products to meet Chinese audiences' needs.
Consumers are king. With the China factor carrying more weight in Hollywood films, Chinese people's cultural consumption will gradually guide the development of the global film market and profoundly influence the global cultural exchanges.
An increasing number of Chinese actors and directors have been invited as actors in films and judges at international film festivals. For instance, actress Jing Tian starred in the just-screened Pacific Rim Uprising. X-Men: Days of Future Past invited Fan Bingbing to play the role of Blink. Zhang Ziyi was invited to be a panel judge at the Cannes Film Festival.
China's rising status in the global film industry highlights the enhancement of its soft power. Chinese audience's cultural choices reflect the nation's values. Catering to Chinese people's tastes, the world's leading film manufacturers will profit more, and in the meantime, help the world acquire a more in-depth knowledge of the cultural background of China's rise.
Given China's economic and political role on the world arena, the expansion of its influence in global film production and other cultural industries is an irreversible trend, just as Forbes Magazine noted, "we will reach a time when not only box office receipts but also the films spawning them will prove China rules the box office once and for all."