Could Avatar have contributed to the reopening of the Chinese market for American films? According to an article that I just saw move its way across my Twitter feed from The Hollywood Reporter, the answer is “yes.” Apparently, when Avatar was removed from theaters in China in 2010, the Chinese people basically stopped going to movies.
Earlier this month, Vice President Joe Biden met with Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping in Los Angeles, and the two came to a deal that would reopen the Chinese film market to the American film industry. This came in response to part of the letter President Barack Obama wrote to Chinese President Hu Jintao before Christmas asking the U.S. and China to resolve some issues between the two countries. (For more on Obama and Hu, please see “Soft Power & China’s Need to be Liked.”)
So what does this mean for the American film industry? Well, it seems that it means reopening a door to the largest market for the film industry, and new territory to explore. And while that’s very exciting, I’m left wondering how much will have to be sacrificed on both sides of the agreement.
Americans, in my opinion, tend to make films that tell stories (or at least the filmmaker in me believes so). They do not necessarily take into consideration things like values or how much violence is too much in a film. (This isn’t saying that all filmmakers don’t, but a good chunk of them don’t.) And I can foresee a very big clash between the two countries over things like this, particularly in China. I guess I will just have to wait and see how things progress.
(The photo is an official White House photo by David Lienemann and is in the public domain.)