China’s box office has a greater power over Hollywood than ever before. Most of Hollywood’s biggest pictures are reworked for Chinese mass-appeal. Hollywood’s biggest writers are now beginning to write with the intention of flexibility in their scripts for US and Chinese alternate versions. In 2017, it is speculated that China will surpass the U.S. as the highest income generating box office worldwide.
Below show some of the major players in Hollywood’s mass movement towards maintaining relations with China in 2016.
Pixar Animations/Walt Disney Animation, had massive success in China with The Jungle Book, Zootoptia, and Finding Dory in 2016. Disney seized the animation medium to seamlessly overdub all of the animation in Mandarin and Cantonese. These three films collectively made $1.18B in the U.S. B.O., and $423.7M in China.
The idea that a Warcraft film was greenlit is a statement in and of itself that China has put a chokehold on Hollywood’s recent output. Of the 6.5 million worldwide World of Warcraft players, over half are located in mainland China. Warcraft, like Pixar and Disney, had purposefully made Warcraft in CGI to redub for Chinese audiences. Warcraft, in both english and mandarin, stars Daniel Wu, who’s fame in China far surpasses his presence in the U.S. Warcraft was released Worldwide during the Dragon Boat Festival weekend in China, where most were off of work and free to enjoy the cinema during the national holiday. This release date strategy was very successful and we should expect to see more Hollywood releases during Chinese national holiday weekends. Warcraft made $47.2M in the US B.O., and $220.8M in the Chinese B.O.
Now You See Me, the 2013 Magician Heist flick was an okay at best U.S. box office return with $117M, but it more than doubled this with $234.8M and was considered a massive hit with China. For this reason alone, a sequel was greenlit with the intentions of catering towards Chinese audiences. Now You See Me 2 made $64.6M in the U.S., but far surpassed that with $97.2M in China.
In the future we should expect more Hollywood studios to join the bandwagon and produce films with the intentions of that generating Chinese revenues.