Hollywood celebrities are flocking to China in droves to promote their most recent films. The impetus behind this new trend in trying to woo the Chinese on major Hollywood movies is the fact that mainland China’s box office is grossing big numbers. At the box office, the fourth quarter of 2009, China grossed $1.3 billion dollars – that is second in the world only to the U.S.
Some Hollywood films are grossing higher numbers at the Chinese box office than in the U.S. domestic market. This has Hollywood taking notice. Cinema is no longer a monopoly controlled by the U.S. China is realizing the power of the consumer: how it drives what is produced and the type of product supplied.
Artisan Gateway President Rance Pow said “With Chinese language film production and performance on the rise, wooing Chinese film patrons to cinemas becomes a competitive issue.” Chinese consumption driving demand allows for films catering to the taste of the Chinese public to enter the market and potentially thrive. One example of this is the film Oz: the Great and Powerful, a flop in the U.S. but a success in the East with a deal in the works for a sequel
China’s entry into the film market is a public diplomacy opportunity. Hollywood celebrities come to the country on a de facto cultural exchange; they share their works of art and learn about the interest of the Chinese. This serves as a good learning tool for both sides involved. The U.S. will begin to “understand” what appeals the Chinese audience and the Chinese become exposed to America in a non propagandist manner, organic public diplomacy at its best.