Hollywood prepares self for China’s new film industry laws

World Today

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A new film industry law in China kicked in, targeting everything from immoral behavior by actors and filmmakers, to ticket fraud to tempering overt interest in Western values.

This is all meant to preserve the integrity of China’s film industry, but some wonder if the new law will have negative impacts on the business of entertainment worldwide.

CGTN’s May Lee reports.

Hollywood prepares self for China's new film industry laws

A new film industry law in China kicked in, targeting everything from immoral behavior by actors and filmmakers, to ticket fraud to tempering overt interest in Western values. This is all meant to preserve the integrity of China's film industry, but some wonder if the new law will have negative impacts on the business of entertainment worldwide. CGTN's May Lee reports.

There are new, more restrictive hoops to jump through in the world’s second largest film market and this time, the impact will likely be global.

According to China’s state run news service, a recently passed film industry law states movies need to be more “centered on the people” and “guided by core socialist values.”

The law also warns the film industry against “immorality” and showing “too much admiration for Western values”.

For Hollywood filmmakers and studios that see China as the panacea for the entertainment business, they have no choice but to play by the rules.

Producer Lauren Selig has worked on several projects with Chinese partners.

“I think that we’re trying desperately to see what the moving target is, and if you can be flexible there’s no sense in having an upset about a new law that’s been put in place,” Selig, founder of Shake and Bake Productions said. “It’s a matter of changing the function of how you put together a project and being quick on your toes to be able to do so.”

The new law also clamps down on ticket fraud in China, which is believed to be one of the reasons for the dramatic slowdown in box office growth. In 2015, ticket sales revenue grew by nearly 50 percent, but as of late 2016, it was just 4.7 percent.

Last year, distributor Beijing Max Screen was suspended for one month for pumping up box-office figures for the action movie Ip Man 3, starring Donnie Yen and Mike Tyson.

Hollywood producer and adviser to China’s film industry, Sid Ganis, firmly believes a successful film comes down to one thing: a good story.

“It’s not just about having a movie star. It’s about what the movie star says on the screen. And what his support is, and what the story is and what the location in China is,” Sid Ganis said. “It comes down to, is this an intriguing wonderful story to tell to audiences around the world.”

But the question now is, what stories will be approved by China’s media watchdog.