China Syndrome: The Dragon Comes to Hollywood

by HFPA June 6, 2014

It seems these days like every day brings more news of China’s growing clout in the film world – and in the movie business. Just last week it was announced that China Movie Media Group, on of the country’s largest film conglomerates, opened offices in Los Angeles, a base that will serve to expedite film deals and partnerships with Hollywood studios. First off it will team with Paramount studios to market Transformers: Age of Extinction in China. That blockbuster of course is notable for the Chinese locations that were included in the plot line to further increase its appeal in what is rapidly becoming the world’s most profitable market. Shooting in China and casting Chinese actors are ways of facilitating access to the enormous potential audience of a country that sets strict limits to the number of Hollywood films it allows into its theaters each years. Co-productions promise to be another obvious strategy, so our money is on an ever increasing synergy between China and Hollywood in the next few years. Case in point, the Huading Awards, a Chinese version of the People’s Choice Awards in which prizes are awarded by the votes of an audience of 80 million. Last week for the first time ever they were held in Hollywood attracting studio executives and A-list stars including Lucy Liu, Halle Berry and Orlando Bloom plus directors Brett Ratner and Gullermo Del Toro. The bilingual awards ceremony, hosted by Lucy Liu and Olivia Xu was held at the Montalban Theater and produced by Oscar and Emmy veteran Don Mischer and reached over one billion viewers via broadcast as well as another 400 million viewers online. Among the honorees were Del Toro for Pacific Rim as well as that film’s star, Charlie Hunnam (Sons of Anarchy). Hans Zimmer for the music of Kung Fu Panda, Jordana Brewster and Tyrese Gibson who accepted an award on behalf of Universal’s Fast and Furious 6 and DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg who received the best global animated film honors for The Croods. Halle Berry and Orlando Bloom won Global Icon Awards. In short, there could hardly have been a better demonstration of China’s growing role in global film, and now in the heart of Hollywood. Check out our video summary.