It seems the word on everyone’s lips in Hollywood is “China” – and for good reason. It has quickly become the second-largest box-office market, and that has executives, academics, and marketing professionals thinking about how to best reach and serve content to this active theatergoing audience.

China’s Dalian Wanda Group Co. – the world’s largest cinema chain operator – announced last week that it will partner with Sony Corp. on future film promotions.

“Right now, they’re underscreened, but China is building theaters at a rapid pace,” said Alan Horn, chairman of Walt Disney Studios, at the book launch for the fourth edition of Jason E. Squire’s “The Movie Business Book” on Sept. 12. Squire is an associate professor at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts.

China was a hot topic of discussion as a panel of industry leaders at the book launch talked through the challenges and opportunities they face as media consumption habits evolve around the world. Squire’s book features topic-specific chapters written by key media figures, including Horn; Shari E. Redstone, National Amusements Inc. president and Viacom board member; and Blair Rich, Warner Bros. Pictures’ president of worldwide marketing, among others.

“The Movie Business Book” also sheds light on the process of producing, marketing, and distributing films at a time when domestic box-office growth has become stagnant and studios look to other territories for growth.

“China can’t be ignored,” said Barbara Boyle, associate dean of entrepreneurship at UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and Television, who also contributed a chapter titled “The Independent Spirit” to the book. “They don’t need a bigger market but they want it.”

Emmy’s L.A. Story

Smash hit miniseries “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story” received a slew of plaudits at the Emmys earlier this month. The FX show, which was shot in Los Angeles, received nine awards during the Sept. 18 ceremony, making it the second-biggest winner of all time. Among the show’s victors were supporting actor Sterling K. Brown, who portrayed Assistant Prosecutor Christopher Darden; lead actress Sarah Paulson, who played Prosecutor Marcia Clark; and lead actor Courtney B. Vance, who portrayed Simpson defense attorney Johnnie Cochran. The production had a total budget of $66 million, according to FilmLA Inc., a nonprofit organization that handles TV, film, and commercial permits for the L.A. area.

By the time the crowd departed the Microsoft Theater, a total of 12 awards were doled out to L.A.-based productions.


For reprint and licensing requests for this article, CLICK HERE.