Hollywood VS China: A Tale of Two Industries

The concept of ‘Hollywood’ has been a staple of mainstream cinema and is the highest grossing film industry, with the U.S/Canada grossing over US$11.1b in 2015.
However, the second highest grossing film industry in 2015 was China with US$6.8b (MPAA, 2015). It has also been suggested that by the end of 2017, China may surpass the U.S to become the largest movie industry in the world (McClintock, 2016).

As stated in a previous blog for BCM111, the concept of globalisation has allowed other film markets like China to develop quality productions – a larger amount of technology such as cameras and CGI has been made available, movies are able to be distributed worldwide and therefore there is a larger demand from consumers (O’Shaungnessy, 2012).

Movie poster for the Chinese film ‘The Sword’, 2015

While China has a large emphasis placed on their history, war and martial arts throughout its films, common ‘traditional’ themes such as romance have begun to hold a large presence in Chinese cinema as well – In 2016, the Chinese romantic comedy The Mermaid became the highest grossing film in Chinese history (Tartaglione, 2016). This sense of cultural diffusion – in layman’s terms, copying and pasting other ideas from different cultures – has added to the Chinese film market’s appeal with not only foreign audiences, but locally as well. In addition, most foreign films (depending on the demand) are being made available with English subtitles or even have English speakers voiced over them.

“Arguments about cultural homogenization, commodification, or Americanization have failed to account for the dynamics of local indigenizations of metropolitan forces.” (Ryoo, 2012; pp. 138)

These types of media that have been spread globally have allowed for ‘traditional’ cultures to witness other cultures make film and ultimately discover something different -and vise versa. As touched on previously, for films from the United States and China to gain traction on a global scale, they also have to be popular on a local scale (Ryoo, 2009). The success of every film, especially those developed in China, obviously have the traction and put simply – deserve to be world-renowned and have the attention of global filmmakers and film-watchers alike. In a world that is constantly evolving and becoming more multi-cultural, the film industry can no longer be dominated by ‘Hollywood’.



Sources/Further Readings:

Tartaglione, N 2016, ‘The Mermaid, China’s Biggest Movie Ever, will hit $400M At Weekend’, reporting for Deadline.com, viewed on 7 September 2016,

McClintock, P 2016, ‘Global 2015 Box Office’, reporting for The Hollywood Reporter, viewed 6 September 2016,

O’Shaugnessy, M 2012, ‘Globalisation’, in Media and society

Ryoo, W 2009, ‘Globalisation, or the logic of cultural hybridisation: the case of the Korean Wave’ in Asian journal of communication

Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), 2015, ‘Theatrical Market Statistics 2015’, viewed 6 September 2016,


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