Good piece by James Frazier at the Washington Times— well, except for the headline:
Cut! Hollywood threatened by creeping Chinese censorship
Hollywood’s not “threatened” by “creeping Chinese Censorship.” Hollywood is an accomplice in allowing itself to be censored in exchange for money. The same Hollywood that has crybabied for going on six decades now over the 1950’s blacklist and all those years of self-censorship through the old production code, is now gleefully doing business with one of the worst human rights abusers in the world and willingly compromising its artistic vision…for cash.
Listen, I’m a strong believer in the idea that our popular culture can open the eyes of those living under repression – that it can tell them a better way of life is possible when the human spirit is released to its full potential. Hollywood willingly censoring its product to satisfy a repressive government, however, is doing the exact opposite of that.
They’re in business with the bad guys and should be ashamed of themselves.
Currently, the Chinese have a quota system that allows for the domestic release of 34 foreign films per year, with at least 14 of those having to be in IMAX or 3-D. American-Chinese Hollywood co-productions are increasingly common. “Iron Man 3,” for example, will tap both Chinese shooting locations and funding sources.
As Chinese market clout and direct involvement in production continue to grow, American films hoping to play in China have much to lose by offending the sensibilities of the nation’s rulers. “The Dark Knight,” for example, did not play in China because of a sequence where Batman kidnaps a Chinese businessman out of Hong Kong in defiance of international laws.
Perhaps the most startling example of a de facto Chinese veto power over Hollywood content is the upcoming “Red Dawn.” A remake of the 1984 film about teenage partisans resisting a Soviet invasion of the U.S., the new film was shot with Chinese soldiers conquering America. Financial problems caused MGM to shelve the movie for years, and then came the news: The studio had ordered the filmmakers to replace the Chinese invaders in post-production. “Red Dawn” would now revolve instead around a North Korean conquest of the United States.
“Around two thirds of the global box office comes from overseas,” Mr. Cain said. “This year, about 10 percent of Hollywood’s grosses will come from China. Because of the import regulations, American producers only get about half as much of the take as anywhere else, so it’s roughly about 5 percent of their revenue. But that number’s going up so quickly that by the end of this decade it’s probably going to be close to 20 percent.”
“Free Tibet” is so 1993.