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Asian Movies Industry News
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Thread: Asian Movies Industry News

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    Default Asian Movies Industry News

    http://www.chinapost.com.tw/movie/fi.../China-box.htm




    Ang Lee: China’s movie industry will dwarf Hollywood

    October 30, 2016, 12:06 am

    BEIJING: Taiwanese-born filmmaker Ang Lee has predicted that the Chinese film market is about to explode, not only overtaking but dwarfing the American box office in a matter of years.

    The two-time Oscar winner said executives in the world’s second economy used to rely on him as a bridge to Hollywood, but the newly confident Chinese film industry no longer finds it necessary.

    “It’s huge, it’s going to be bigger in a few years,” the 62-year-old told reporters on the red carpet at the glitzy BAFTA Britannia Awards in Beverly Hills.

    “In a few years it’s probably going to be bigger [than the US] and then in the years to come a lot bigger.

    “They’ve got many people and, most importantly, film has been lacking in the past in the culture, so it’s still fresh.”

    PricewaterhouseCoopers projects China’s box office will rise from US$4.3bil (RM18bil) in 2014 to US$8.9bil (RM37bil) in 2019, outstripping the US.

    Hollywood studios have been looking to capitalise on the burgeoning market through partnerships with Chinese companies.

    Meanwhile, Beijing has ambitions to increase China’s “soft power”, unleashing a wave of Chinese money into Hollywood.

    Real estate developer turned media conglomerate Wanda bought Jurassic World creator Legendary Entertainment for US$3.5bil (RM15bil) earlier this year.

    Wanda, which snapped up US movie theatre chain AMC in 2012 for US$2.6bil (RM11bil), announced last month it would invest in movies produced by Sony Pictures, its first deal with one of Hollywood’s so-called “Big Six” studios.

    Lee was the first Asian ever to win an Oscar for directing in 2006 for gay cowboy movie Brokeback Mountain.

    He went on to win again for 2012’s Life of Pi.

    He was at the BAFTA LA ceremony, which celebrates the contribution of Hollywood talent and British entertainers, to receive the John Schlesinger Britannia Award for excellence in directing. – South China Morning Post.
    Last edited by hirobo2; 12-03-16 at 07:33 PM.

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    http://m.chinadaily.com.cn/en/2016-1...t_27512874.htm

    China's prehistoric Sanxingdui Ruins to be made animated movie

    (Xinhua)
    Updated: 2016-11-29 09:39:40

    Plans are in the pipeline for an animated movie about the prehistoric Sanxingdui Ruins in Southwest China's Sichuan province, Sichuan Publishing Group Co., Ltd. announced on Monday.

    The Golden Mask will focus on a golden mask found during the excavation and the mysterious culture of the ruins, according to sources with the group.

    Touching on fantasy, adventure and time travel, the movie will be produced and screened on 3D and IMAX screens. It is expected to be released in 2019.

    With investment of $20 million, the movie has secured copyright certificates from China and the United States, said Yao Xiaoming, executive producer of the movie, adding that the crew will include a Hollywood director, art designer and composer.

    "We hope to use the popular medium of animation to share the mysterious culture of Sanxingdui," said Yao.

    The Sanxingdui Ruins are in Guanghan city, some 40 kilometers from Chengdu, capital of Sichuan. They are believed to be remnants of the Shu Kingdom that disappeared under mysterious circumstances some 3,000 years ago.

    Listed among China's top 10 archaeological findings of the 20th century, Sanxingdui Ruins, which sprawl over an area of 12 square kilometers, witness the diverse origins of Chinese civilization.

    The ruins were discovered by accident by Yan Daocheng, a farmer, when he unearthed a bright piece of jade while digging a ditch in 1929.

    Two sacrificial pits filled with more than 1,000 national treasures, including gold masks, bronze ware, jade tablets, ivory and sacred trees, were discovered in 1986 when workers were excavating clay for bricks.

    In 1988, the ruins were given state-level protection
    Last edited by hirobo2; 12-01-16 at 02:16 PM.

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    http://english.sina.com/news/2016-11...a2889498.shtml

    Chongqing to build 15-bln-yuan film industry park

    2016-11-27 15:41:20 GMT

    CHONGQING, Nov. 27 (Xinhua) -- The metropolis of Chongqing in southwest China will invest 15 billion yuan (2.17 billion U.S. dollars) to build a film and television industry park in a scenic mountainous area.

    The park, named after China's Belt and Road Initiative, will include a film shooting base, a tourist town, a theme park, a training center, and offices for cultural enterprises and their financiers, said Tan Nianshen, the project manager.

    Construction of the park, located in mountainous Wulong County, will begin in early 2017. Partners in about a dozen foreign countries will participate in the operation of projects including the theme park and the tourist town.

    Tan said the park will serve as a platform to promote exhibitions, boost exchanges and cooperation among Chinese and foreign film enterprises, and integrate the traditional sector with emerging industries of online entertainment, gaming, virtual reality and augmented reality technologies.

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    http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-38134425




    China plans to build $2bn film studio

    28 November 2016

    China's government has announced it will build a $2bn (£1.6bn) film studio in another push to expand China's already burgeoning film industry.

    The studio, based in Chongqing in the south west of the country, will also include a theme park.

    Work is due to start on the project early next year.

    China is keen to produce more successful local films. A national quota permits only 34 Hollywood films to be shown each year in the country.

    The studio and park will be named after President Xi Jinping's One Belt, One Road program, a multibillion-dollar project to strengthen ties with China's western and southern neighbours.

    Great Wall

    The park will also feature tourist attractions and officials say they have operating agreements already with several foreign partners

    China is already the world's second-largest film market, while China's richest man, Wang Jianlin, owns the AMC cinema chain - the second largest in the US - as well as Legendary Entertainment.

    His company, Dalian Wanda, also has a tie-in with Sony Pictures.

    Jianlin recently continued his Hollywood shopping spree by snapping up the company that runs the Golden Globes.

    Next year Legendary Entertainment, in partnership with Universal, will release Great Wall - starring Hollywood stars Matt Damon and Willem Dafoe alongside Chinese actor Andy Lau and boy band idol Wang Junkai,

    It will be the first major Hollywood film aimed at a global audience to be set, filmed and produced in China.
    Last edited by hirobo2; 12-03-16 at 07:51 PM.

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    http://m.chinadaily.com.cn/en/2016-1...t_27366051.htm




    Chinese actor Jackie Chan among winners of Academy's Honorary Award

    (Xinhua)
    Updated: 2016-11-14 09:15:34

    Chinese actor Jackie Chan, British film editor Anne V. Coates, American casting director Lynn Stalmaster and American documentary filmmaker Frederick Wiseman were presented with the Academy's Honorary Awards Saturday night to recognize their lifetime contributions to the film industry.

    The honors were presented at the eighth annual Governors Awards ceremony at the Ray Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland Center.

    "The Honorary Award was created for artists like Jackie Chan, Anne Coates, Lynn Stalmaster and Frederick Wiseman -- true pioneers and legends in their crafts," Cheryl Boone Isaacs, president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, said, "The Board is proud to honor their extraordinary achievements."

    Chan, as an actor, writer, director and producer, has been performing since the age of eight, appearing in dozens of martial arts films in Hong Kong before becoming an international film star. He charmed audiences with his dazzling athleticism, inventive stunt work and boundless charisma.

    Since Rumble in the Bronx in 1996, he has gone on to enormous worldwide success with the Rush Hour movies, Shanghai Noon, Shanghai Knights, Around the World in 80 Days, The Karate Kid and the Kung Fu Panda series of animated films.

    Wearing a typical Chinese gown, Chan said with his golden Oscar statuette, "I still can't believe I am standing here. It's a dream."

    "Twenty-three years ago, I saw this little thing (Oscar statuette) in my friend's house. I touched it, kissed it, and smelled it; I believe there are still my finger prints on it," Chan joked.

    "After 56 years in the film industry, making more than 200 films, and broke so many bones, finally, this is mine," he said, "I want to thank Hong Kong, an incredible city, my hometown. (Thank) who made me, China, my country, I am proud to be Chinese."

    "Millions of thanks to all my friends, fans around the world, because you I have a reason to continue to make movies, jumping out of a window, kicking and punching and breaking my bone, thank you so much!" he added.

    The Governors Awards ceremony attracted lots of celebrities in the film industry. Tom Hanks, a two-time Oscar winner, said Chan's movies had combined serious and comedic factors together.

    "It is especially gratified to be able to acknowledge Jackie's enormous creativity, his great gift for physical performance, and incredible dedication to his work," Hanks said.

    Aaron Eckhart, who starred Harvey Dent in The Dark Knight, said Chan deserves the award.

    "He is an artist, I mean the passion which he does his jobs. He is so creative, he always has a smile on his face, he is a great role model, he is a legend, he is an icon," he said.

    The Honorary Award, an Oscar statuette, is given to honor extraordinary distinction in lifetime achievement, exceptional contributions to the state of motion picture arts and sciences, or for outstanding service to the Academy.

    This award could date back to 1929 when the Academy honored Warner Bros. and Charlie Chaplin. Since 2009, the Honorary Award has been presented at the annual Governors Awards rather than at the Academy Awards.
    Last edited by hirobo2; 12-03-16 at 07:28 PM.

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    http://m.chinadaily.com.cn/en/2016-1...t_27533014.htm



    Full-scale Titanic replica aims to attract visitors to Sichuan

    By Huang Zhiling(China Daily)
    Updated: 2016-12-01 07:27:55

    A solemn ceremony was held in the tiny, hilly county of Daying in Southwest China's Sichuan province on Wednesday, which was attended by British former deputy prime minister Peter Mandelson and several US designers, who witnessed the laying of the keel of a full-scale replica of the RMS Titanic.

    The doomed luxury cruise ship sank in 1912 after hitting an iceberg during its maiden voyage. More than two-thirds of the 2,224 passengers perished, mainly due to a shortage of lifeboats.

    To boost development of the local tourism sector, Daying is building a life-size replica of the cruise ship by the Qijiang River with an investment of 1 billion yuan ($145 million).

    Upon completion of the replica, it will be permanently docked in a reservoir in the river, according to Hu Mingchao, head of Daying county.

    Planning for the construction of the replica started more than two years ago when GC High-Tech, a United States-based company, was invited to design it.

    The designing process has been slow because the firm has had to consult the builder of the replica, Wuchang Shipyard, which is based in Wuhan, Hubei province.

    "The shipyard is a builder of nuclear submarines and is technically strong. But building the Titanic replica is so complicated that the US firm has had to consult the shipyard constantly to figure out if it can meet the challenges of turning the design into a full-scale replica," said James Wu, China regional chief representative of America Hollywood Television and Film Media Inc.

    Wu, a US citizen, said GC High-Tech is part of America Hollywood Television and Film Media.

    Wuchang Shipyard only started building components for the replica in April and is expected to finish all components by August next year, according to Wang Zhigang, general manager of the Wuhan Branch of China Classification Society, which sets technical criteria for, and oversees, shipyards.

    The interior and exterior of the replica will be built according to the Titanic's original design.

    Su Shaojun, chairman of Qixing Energy Investment in Zhejiang province, which is the investor of the replica, said the replica's interior would include the cruise ship's large banquet hall and first-class guesthouse.

    "After the RMS Titanic sank, nobody saw its complete set of blueprints. Many blueprint fragments found their way into the hands of collectors or remained missing. We spent many years collecting the blueprints from many parts of the world and managed to obtain most of them," Su said.

    It is unknown when the replica will open to visitors, but preorders for overnight stays were first accepted in Hong Kong in June 2005, with tickets for a one-night, economy-class stay starting at about 3,000 yuan ($435), and the price for a luxury fare amounting to hundreds of thousands of yuan.

    Note: Second highest grossing movie in the world will soon have a Chinese replica.
    Last edited by hirobo2; 12-26-16 at 08:01 PM.

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    http://m.chinadaily.com.cn/en/2016-1...t_27609510.htm



    Story of shortest reigning emperor to hit big screens in 2018

    By Bi Nan(chinadaily.com.cn)
    Updated: 2016-12-08 10:39:44

    A film based on the book which narrates the ups and downs of "Haihunhou" (the Marquis of Haihun) Liu He's life will start shooting in May next year and hit the screens in 2018.

    The film, Haihunhou Code, will use bidirectional narration to tell the story, combining modern archaeological findings and the legendary life of Liu He.

    Beginning with the archaeological discovery at Haihunhou tomb, the film will interpret the code of Haihunhou and explore real Liu He with archaeologists. The story will then shift and show the archaeologists fighting thieves stealing relics, and gradually reveal the rise and fall of emperor Liu He.

    The film will fuse elements of history, archaeology, tomb robbery, suspense, spying, acrobatic fighting, showcase the history of the middle Western Han Dynasty (206 BC - 24 AD), and show how difficult it is to excavate and save relics.

    The writers are working on the script and it is scheduled to be finished before the Spring Festival of 2017. As it's the first film to be based on Haihunhou, and the first Chinese movie with archaeology as its theme, it will be screened in big theaters in 2018.

    The discovery of Haihunhou tomb marked a major event in archaeology. Located in Nanchang, capital of East China's Jiangxi province, the Haihunhou tomb belongs to Liu He (92-59 BC), the shortest reigning emperor during the Western Han Dynasty, who was later given the title of "Haihunhou".
    Last edited by hirobo2; 12-12-16 at 10:47 AM.

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    http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/culture...t_27317050.htm

    Luedi Kong gives Monkey King epic the German treatment

    By MEI JIA | China Daily | Updated: 2016-11-09 07:48

    Switzerland-born Eva Luedi Kong appeared with a glass bottle of Chinese wolfberry tea at her book launch at the Frankfurt Book Fair in late October.

    The first to render the complete text of Chinese literary classic Journey to the West into German, Luedi Kong has just completed her journey of bringing the Monkey King to a wider audience in the West, in an adventure spanning 16 years.

    "The book is a wonderful example and ambassador of Chinese culture," she says.

    "This is because besides tai chi exponents and believers in traditional Chinese medicine, there are not many people in the German-speaking world who know anything about the novel."

    Designer Remo Albanesi was one of those who bought a copy of the book shortly after the launch.

    Albanesi says he has a relative who is of Chinese descent and so he is interested in learning about Chinese classics.

    "Many young people here know about the Dragon Ball, but nothing about this novel," he says, referring to the Japanese cartoon inspired by Sun Wukong, or the Monkey King.
    Note: Germany now has a (literary) bridge to all the Monkey King movies ever made.
    Last edited by hirobo2; 12-26-16 at 08:02 PM.

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    https://www.japantoday.com/smartphon...e-growth-slows

    China to review foreign film limits as box office growth slows

    Dec. 18, 2016 - 12:28PM JST

    LOS ANGELES/SHANGHAI — China’s box office is set to end the year with its smallest growth in a decade, clouding the outlook as Hollywood pushes to show more of its films in theaters in the world’s second-largest movie market.

    Beijing caps the number of imported films each year under a revenue-sharing deal reached in 2012. That quota, which Hollywood wants to increase from the official level of 34, is scheduled to be reviewed in 2017.

    China accounted for 18.8 percent of worldwide movie ticket sales last year, versus 7.5 percent in 2012, according to research firm comScore.

    For films imported under the cap, 25 percent of China ticket revenue goes to the U.S. film studio, a smaller share than the roughly 40 percent average in other international markets.

    While a drop in China’s ticket sales growth could muddy the outlook for foreign movies, Sanford Panitch, president of Sony Corp’s Columbia Pictures, shrugged it off, saying: “We’ll take this slowdown in any territory in the world. It’s still an incredible story of a big growth market.”

    Between January and November, tickets worth 41.4 billion yuan ($5.97 billion) were sold in China, industry tracker EntGroup said, up 4.4 percent over 2015. That is sharply slower than last year’s 50 percent jump and on track for the slowest annual growth in a decade.

    But given the market’s size and potential, the Motion Picture Association of America remains eager for Beijing to open its doors wider. Box office experts say China’s ticket sales will overtake those in the United States and Canada within the next few years.

    An MPAA official said it was “very encouraging” that U.S. and Chinese officials had agreed in recent talks to address issues including increasing the annual film quota and the revenue share that foreign studios receive.

    For now, co-productions are helping bring the two sides together.

    On Friday, Chinese theaters debuted “The Great Wall,” starring Matt Damon and produced by Legendary Entertainment - the Hollywood studio purchased by China’s Dalian Wanda - along with China Film Group and others. The movie was partly filmed at Wanda’s new studio in the eastern Chinese city of Qingdao. It has been designated an official China co-production and therefore avoided the cap on U.S.-made movies.

    China is juggling its desire to welcome U.S. films, its investments in Hollywood and efforts to protect its industry.

    “Culturally, they are very suspect of having too many American imports flood their country. They want their citizens to see homegrown hits and Chinese stories,” said Jonathan Papish, analyst for China Film Insider.

    The five-year 2012 deal governing how many foreign films can be shown in China was announced at the end of a U.S. visit by Xi Jinping, then China’s vice president and now its president. Previously, China let only 20 foreign-made films play in the country each year.

    In 2017, the two governments could extend the current agreement, or the number of imported films could be increased or decreased, said Greg Frazier, a consultant involved in the 2012 deal as an executive vice president at the MPAA.

    He said the agreement “is vulnerable to the changing Chinese film market over the last five years. How dependent does the Chinese film sector and the government think it is on more U.S. product?”

    Adding to the uncertainty is the election of Donald Trump as president in the United States.

    Trump stoked tensions with China by speaking to the president of Taiwan on Dec. 2 and then publicly suggesting the
    “one China” policy was up for negotiation.

    U.S.-based media executives were hoping for improved relations with China in 2017, said Matt Lieberman, a director at PwC and a consultant to major Hollywood studios. “That question is now up in the air.”

    Trump’s representatives did not respond to a request for comment.
    Last edited by hirobo2; 12-26-16 at 07:56 PM.

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    http://m.chinadaily.com.cn/en/2016-1...t_27736410.htm



    Standalone VR goggles expected to boom in China

    By Liu Zheng(chinadaily.com.cn)
    Updated: 2016-12-21 17:09:38

    A domestic virtual reality (VR) hardware manufacturer launched a brand new standalone head mount display (HMD), further stimulating the segment market already in full swing.

    On Tuesday, Baofeng Mojing, the VR arm of the Baofeng Technology Co Ltd, unveiled the "Matrix" -- VR goggles equipped with 3K resolution built-in display.

    The company claimed the HMD device is the lightest gadget that hit the market among the same category of products.

    Feng Xin, CEO of Baofeng, said at the product's launch ceremony that the device fulfills the three major pain points of the VR device for consumers, which are the demand for higher definition, lighter weight and decrease of feeling faint.

    The device was priced at 2,499 yuan ($360), and the company said one hundred early-adaptors will be selected and will receive the products for hands-on trial, with purchasing at a discount price of 1,999 yuan.

    No specific dates for the publicly shipment were announced during the event.

    The industry witnessed an investment shrink when fierce homogeneous competition appeared in the market this year.

    More companies are forced to curtail the R&D process or even went bankrupt due to suffocated fundraising.

    Baofeng Mojing cut down 50 of its headcount and about 100 employees, who are specialized in content building, were shifted to new established VR subsidiaries.

    "We're hoping to become a dominator in the market to promote the industry from winter to a vibrant spring," said Feng. "VR will become commercialized and major vendors in the market will be making profits by 2017 to 2018."

    He elaborated that VR will be massively exploited and implemented in industries such as tourism, education, automobile, real estate and sports in the next two years and standalone HMDs will become one of the next bestsellers.

    "Domestic vendors, such as Xiaomi and Huawei, as well as major domestic internet companies and global players, like Facebook, will all be eager to participate and aim to grab a piece of the market shares," Feng added.

    The existing consumer VR devices sold on the market include three major categories - Google's Cardboard-like mobile VR, all-in-one, or known as standalone HMD, and PC or game console driven goggles, such as HTC Vive or Sony PSVR.

    Many Chinese vendors tend to invest in the first two categories, and similar to Baofeng Mojing, DeePoon, Pico, 3Glasses, 3Dinlfe and Lingvr have all unveiled standalone HMDs in recent years.

    Neo Zheng, a research manager of client system research at International Data Corporation (IDC) told chinadaily.com.cn that according to the market analysis data monitored by the company, the shipments of VR devices in China is seen continually rising, and the technology bottlenecks, such as processing performance and battery life will restrain new vendors who are keen on investing in the standalone HMD market.

    "But we're optimistic about the market boom in the mid- and low- end market as upstream manufacturers, such as, Intel and Qualcomm launch more powerful chips and mobile solutions," said Zheng.

    Julian Tan, an analyst at the industry consulting company GfK China also said that the standalone HMD market will see a certain amount of increase next year.

    "More time should be given to make breakthroughs in the core technologies and consumer education in the segment market," she added.

    Another domestic vendor DeePon has announced it will start crowd-funding on Friday for its latest all-in-one VR device on Taobao.

    Latest statistics from IDC show that the worldwide VR headset shipments will reach 10.1 million units, and by 2020, the volume is expected to achieve 61 million, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 100.7 percent.

    Tom Mainelli, IDC's program vice president of Devices & AR/VR, said, "This year we saw major VR product launches from key players such as Oculus, HTC, Sony, Samsung, and Google. In the next 12 months, we'll see a growing number of hardware vendors enter the space with products that cover the gamut from simple screen less viewers to tethered HMDs to standalone HMDs."

    According to industry consultancy iResearch Consulting Group, China's VR market revenues are expected to top 5.6 billion yuan this year, up from 1.5 billion yuan in 2015, and will reach 55 billion yuan by 2020.
    Note: The next wave in Chinese cinema? China already starting to see VR movie titles like Throne of Elves 3D VR (2016).
    Last edited by hirobo2; 12-27-16 at 10:48 AM.

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    http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/busines...t_27841752.htm



    Film industry at turning point as bubble bursts, tastes change

    By Raymond Zhou | China Daily | Updated: 2017-01-03 07:33

    Insiders say there's a silver lining to stagnant box office takes in 2016

    Box office takes for China's film industry remained stagnant in 2016, but most industry insiders see it as a blessing in disguise.

    Last year's box-office total was predicted to reach 60 billion yuan ($8.64 billion). Instead, at 45.712 billion, it grew a mere 3.73 percent over 2015's 44 billion yuan, the lowest in a decade.

    However, experts said 2015's 49-percent growth rate, the highest on record, was partly the result of a bubble.

    Although box-office receipts stalled in 2016, the buildup of movie theaters rushed ahead at breakneck speed, with about 26 new screens a day, or 9,552 in a year. China now has 41,179 movie screens in total, the most in the world, and 85 percent of them are capable of projecting 3-D films.

    Newly released data by the State Administration of Press Publication, Radio, Film and Television, the industry's regulator, shows that domestic films accounted for 58.33 percent of the year's box office total. Annual attendance reached 1.37 billion tickets, an increase of 8.89 percent year-on-year.

    In the same report, overseas box office figures for Chinese films were shown as 3.825 billion yuan, a rise of 38 percent. The number of feature films produced in China was 772, with an additional 49 animated features.

    There was a sweeping transformation in the early summer of 2016 when ticket subsidies were phased out. Such subsidies, mostly from online retailers, reportedly accounted for 10 percent of 2015's total take. Subsidy-enabled low prices were blamed by many for creating a new audience mentality that movie tickets should be much lower than normal.

    Worse than subsidies was so-called phantom attendance, which refers to blocks of seats bought by the film companies themselves to create an illusion of high audience turnout. Although the practice started as a plan to generate real attendance down the road-similar to authors buying their own books from designated bookstores to get on the best-seller list-it evolved into a financial tool to jack up corporate valuation.

    The crackdown in March last year by government regulators investigating the distributor for Ip Man 3 effectively put a stop to such practices. This caused a dip in revenues for several months of 2016.

    "A proper downsizing of the film market is beneficial to the health of the industry," said Dai Jinhua, a film scholar at Peking University. "China's film market, even if scaled down, is still flush with capital. But this infusion of money must not be used to dominate the film market with quick profits and speculation."

    The flat performance of 2016 has also been attributed to a shortage of runaway hits. Except for the pre-crackdown box-office record of The Mermaid, which stands at 3.39 billion yuan, other blockbusters were all in the range of 1 billion to 1.5 billion yuan. Of these, only Zootopia (1.5 billion yuan), an import, and Operation Mekong (1.18 billion yuan) relied on word of mouth to propel sales above the 1 billion yuan mark. Others were all products of franchises.

    However, not every star-studded epic built around a wildly popular book or story ended up in that league. Many fell flat on the market, due to growing sophistication of moviegoers. The failure of the erstwhile winning formula with L.O.R.D (Legend of Ravaging Dynasties), at 382 million yuan, and League of Gods, at 284 million, offered a cautionary tale for new players who come to the industry with loads of money but little knowledge.

    The financial game of minimum guarantee also failed spectacularly in 2016. Both League of Gods and Ip Man 3 were guaranteed a minimum box office return of 1 billion yuan, for example, but fell far short.

    "We may have more screens and a bigger market, but we also have more movies that are dumbed down and brainless. But audiences are going through a change. They are less willing to buy tickets to movies with only visual spectacles and all-star casts," said Liu Zhenyuan, a screenwriter whose novel I Am Not Madame Bovary spawned an award-winning comedy that raked in 483 million yuan at the box office.

    The year 2016 could also be a turning point for the perceived clout of the pop idol pretty boys. Many projects built around them, usually romances, had only middling performances at the market, and their average box office returns were noticeably lower than similar genres from previous years.

    Some of these pop idols had such bad attitudes in the workplace-shooting only close-ups and leaving the rest for body doubles, for example-that Jackie Chan, a titan of the industry legendary for his work ethics, threatened to "out" them.

    Quality films enjoyed a modest revival last year. The biggest event was the performance of Song of the Phoenix, a little film directed by the late master Wu Tianming, often deemed "father to the Fifth Generation". It reached 85 million yuan after producer Fang Li made headlines by publicly genuflecting to the nation's cinema managers.

    Art-house champions saw Song of the Phoenix as evidence that there is a market for such offerings and movie theater chains should heed this pent-up demand.

    Other auteur-oriented fare still resorts to star power and international award recognition for publicity, but unlike in previous years, more people apparently are realizing that the quality of a film may not necessarily translate into market performance.

    Rao Shuguang, secretary-general of the China Film Association, said that short-term and "non-professional" capital would beat a retreat when it failed to reap the anticipated financial rewards, thus hampering the growth rate of the industry but also squeezing air from the bubble. "Overall, China's film industry is entering a more rational phase of development."

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