China’s Crackdown on Entertainment - And Why Hollywood Should Be Concerned
Over the last year, the Chinese Communist Party-ruled government has cracked down on all sectors, including entertainment, which is being more heavily controlled than ever before. While it might seem like a distant problem for the executives in Hollywood and even audiences in the U.S, its impact will be felt over time, just as China's value in box office revenue has had a notable, visible impact on Hollywood films in the last ten years.To get more breaking entertainment news, you can visit shine news official website.
In early September, China's National Radio and Television Administration published new guidelines for everyone involved in culture and entertainment. These guidelines restricted certain reality shows, banned K-Pop, limited fan culture and even the pay that actors and high profile figures can receive. The most worrying of these guidelines are those aimed at correcting "wrong moral standards" and "incorrect political views," as well as those specifically targeting anything that appears out of line with the common view of the Chinese Communist Party. As an example, the party -- whose leaders are all ancient old men from Mao Zedong's regime and their children -- has an antiquated and particular view of masculinity. The guidelines and state-run media make that clear in no uncertain terms, by using derogatory wording to describe men who don't conform.
Studios in the west have been working progressively more closely with Chinese studios. For instance, 2018's The Meg was produced with the Chinese production company, Gravity Pictures, one of many film assets of China Media Capital, which is owned by Li Ruigang, who previously served as the Deputy Secretaries-General of the Shanghai Municipal Committee of the Communist Party of China and director of the Shanghai Municipal People’s Government. It's worth noting that this isn't an isolated case. Most private companies in China are at least required to have several members of the CCP on their board, effectively turning the largest companies into arms of the Chinese Communist Party.
With all that in mind, let's take a look at why Hollywood studios are so desperate to please the Chinese government. There is obvious profit to be made from Chinese theaters. And it's worth clarifying at this point that what the Chinese government allows in is just not reflective of what the Chinese people actually want to see, in values or general taste. Audiences go to see what is available to them and have little choice in that. In 2021, China's box office value hit $5.11 billion, while the U.S reached $3.2 billion. For comparison, before the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, China and the U.S were worth $9.1 billion and $11.3 billion, respectively, though China had been on track to surpass the U.S in revenue for some time. Considering that movies are disgustingly expensive beasts, it's understandable why studios would try their hardest to ensure a Chinese release.
A release in China all but guarantees success. It has kept franchises like the Fast and Furious, Transformers, Resident Evil and The Expendables going far longer than they would have if they relied on literally every other country outside of China. But that desperation to ensure a profitable release comes at the cost of importing China's censorship policies.
It's yet another point against a film like Eternals, which features an LGBTQ relationship. The CCP's treatment of Muslim Uyghurs and other minorities means a major film featuring characters like Ms. Marvel's Kamala Khan would be unlikely to screen in China. Just as its treatment of Tibet made certain that Doctor Strange included no references to the oppressed region or people.