Chinese Box Office, Addendum
Leng Feng beat Americans in “Wolf Warrior II” but at the box office he sidestepped Hollywood for 28 days.
Been thinking about this post more. Wu Haiyun is arguing that the boffo box office for Chinese films indicates a rejection of western values of individualism and liberalism in favor of the following Chinese values: “collective effort, patriotism, and self-sacrifice for the cause of national rejuvenation.”
She also argues that periods in which the Chinese government don't allow new foreign films to be shown, called “Hollywood blackout periods” or, in China, “Domestic Film Protection Month,” have nothing to do with this rejection of western and embrace of Chinese values.
Chinese audiences, not the Chinese government, are turning their noses up at Hollywood.
And yet ...
Here are the highest-grossing domestic movies in China, along with how long they were protected from U.S. competition:
|Film||Dom. $$||Release date||Days w/o US comp|
|Wolf Warior II||$854||Jul. 29, 2017||28|
|Operation Red Sea||$579||Feb. 16, 2018||14|
|Detective Chinatown 2||$541||Feb. 16, 2018||14|
|The Mermaid||$526||Feb. 12, 2016||14|
|Monster Hunt||$381||Jul. 16, 2015||0|
|Monster Hunt 2||$356||Feb. 16, 2018||14|
|Never Day Die||$334||Sept. 29, 2017||21|
|The Ex-File 3||$306||Dec. 29, 2017||7|
|Kung Fu Yoga||$254||Jan. 27, 2017||14|
|Mojin: The Lost Legend||$255||Dec. 18, 2015||21|
|Journey to the West 2||$239||Jan. 27, 2017||14|
|Lost in Hong Kong||$234||Sept. 21, 2015||14|
|Goodbye Mr. Loser||$226||Sept. 21, 2015||14|
Only one movie, the original “Monster Hunt,” went head-to-head against a Hollywood competitor. Well, “Hollywood.” It was “Shaun the Sheep Movie,” so really more Brit than U.S. After that, “Monster” had more than a month without a Hollywood competitor until “Terminator: Genisys” showed up in late August. As is the case for most of the above.
Wu might also want to respond to an article on “What's on Weibo,” the Chinese social media site, that indicates that not all Chinese filmgoers necessarily want self-sacrifice; some want Hollywood movies. They want the blackout periods to end.
Bottom line: We‘ll never know how true Wu Haiyun’s words are until China actually gets rid of Domestic Film Protection Month.