movie industry

March 16, 2020

CPD Senior Visiting Fellow (Non-Resident) Oliver Lewis compares and contrasts the film and intelligence industries' approaches to "human intelligence."

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’s growing control of the movie industry also exists downstream. AMC Theaters is owned by the Dalian Wanda group, whose board members have ties to the communist government. AMC is currently finalizing a merger with Carmike Cinemas that will make it the biggest movie chain in the United States with more than 8,000 theater screens. 

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.

“Gender Bias Without Borders" highlights the research of CPD University Fellow Dr. Stacy L. Smith (lead author) and her team at USC Annenberg, and demonstrates the prevalence and nature of female characters in popular films from 11 countries around the world, revealing one unifying theme: female characters are not equal to men and they are not aspirational in this sample of global films.