hollywood

HIDDEN FIGURES | International Trailer | In Cinemas Feb 16, 2017

Hidden Figures is a reminder that America's strength lies in its diversity.

Paramount Pictures said Friday it has inked a co-financing deal with two Chinese companies for the Hollywood studio’s slate of movies over the next three years. Under the terms of the deal, Shanghai Film Group and Huahua Media will also set up an office on Paramount’s lot later this year, the studio said in a statement. [...] It’s the latest China-Hollywood tie-up, as both sides aim to beef up their presence in each other’s movie industries.

As Hollywood comes to China in desperate search of new, lucrative audiences, China is desperate to harness something of the elusive magic. If it can build its own film industry, the argument goes, it can use it to develop its so-called "soft power", in the same way US movies have carried American values and norms around the world for a century or more.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has embarked on a quest to make China’s voice heard internationally. “President Xi Jinping has vowed to promote China’s cultural soft power by disseminating modern Chinese values and showing the charm of Chinese culture to the world,” China’s Xinhua News Agency wrote in 2014. “The stories of China should be well told, voices of China well spread, and characteristics of China well explained,” the president said. 

China has never been shy about its desire to acquire “soft power” – the kind of cultural and economic influence that can’t be wielded by military might. And Hollywood has often been a partner in its project. China’s bid for soft power was on show this week, as Sony Pictures Entertainment formed an alliance with Dalian Wanda, a Chinese company that has become one of the world’s largest media empires...

The colorful spectacle of pandas, martial arts and valiant heroes is, of course, far from the reality in China today, but the version of a Chinese fantasy world in which the Kung Fu Panda movies live has proved very appealing to audiences both in China and globally. 

When Tony Stark uses a Chinese smartphone, China's clout in Hollywood becomes crystal clear. In "Captain America: Civil War," the billionaire hero who builds his own hologram interfaces and super suits chooses to wield a transparent concept phone by Vivo, a brand sold only in China. It's just the latest example of how Hollywood is appealing to China in the midst of a major box office boom.

For China, the film industry’s lure is evident. China hopes to tap into Hollywood’s expertise as it builds up its own nascent entertainment industry. It also understands popular culture’s potential as a PR platform for the Chinese Communist Party on the global stage.

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