The Chinese Program presented the talk entitled “Hollywood Made in China” on April 20, 2017 (Thursday). The speaker is Aynne Kokas, Assistant Professor of Media Studies at the University of Virginia. W&M students and faculty learned about how Kung Fu Panda 3, Iron Man 3, and Transformer 4 revealed the culture and politics of U.S.-China transnationalism in the 21st century.
According to Kokas, the Chinese market is poised to become the largest theatrical box office in the world within the next two years. But China currently allows only 34 films from around the world to be imported per year (with distribution revenue sharing privileges). In order to circumvent China’s film import quota and access the world’s largest potential film market, Hollywood studios have begun engaging in a range of collaborative ventures to access audiences in the middle kingdom. In February 2016, Shanghai-based US-China joint venture Oriental DreamWorks released Kung Fu Panda 3, which dominated the global box office that month. Disney opened its first theme park in China – a USD 5.5 billion investment – merely four months later. From film co-productions, to animation studios, to theme parks, American media conglomerates are working ever more closely with Chinese firms and Chinese regulators in exchange for access to audiences. Local Chinese filmmakers increasingly create media with an eye toward the international market in order to compete with Hollywood-China collaborations globally. Cash-rich Chinese conglomerates like the Dalian Wanda Group have begun taking major stakes in foreign studios, spurring US government efforts to regulate foreign direct investment in Hollywood. This talk demonstrated how the growth of China’s media market is transforming Hollywood from the inside out.
Aynne Kokas is an assistant professor of media studies at the University of Virginia. Kokas’ work focuses on the intersections between Chinese and US media and technology industries. Her book Hollywood Made in China was published in February 2017 with the University of California Press. Hollywood Made in China examines the cultural, political and economic implications of US media investment in China as it becomes the world’s largest film market.
This event was organized by Professors Calvin Hui and Chun-yu Lu from the Chinese Program.