By CCTV reporter Quan Xiangqin
With more cash in their pockets, more and more Chinese consumers are heading to the big screen. As a result, China’s film market is booming, with the box office hitting 2.7 billion US dollars in the first nine months. To get a slice of the pie, foreign production firms are tapping the market by co-producing films with Chinese partners.
With more disposable income in their pockets, Chinese consumers are spending more on leisure and entertainment.
The number of theatregoers was 190 million last year and that number is expected to surpass 290 million by 2014.
Riding the wave of expansion, foreign talents and production companies are reaching out to China’s abundant capital and enormous market through co-produced films.
"Every quarter, the Korea Film Council selects six SOUTH Korean production companies willing to co-produce with Chinese firms and moves them into the China Film Business Center. We support these companies by helping plan, produce, and invest in co-production films. We hope that our efforts will bear fruit in the very near future." Han Sang-Hee, Korea Film Council, Int'l Co-Production Team said.
Cooperation models are becoming more sophisticated than ever.
Many studios, like Paramount Pictures with its "Transformers" franchise, have been taking steps to appeal to China’s fast-growing audiences by hiring Chinese actors or featuring Chinese products in their films.
"It’s different from capital injection and co-production. It’s like when we are producing a film, we just hire one director or an actor, not an entire crew. In this case, we can better satisfy the needs of more audiences and also save costs. I think it’s a very simple and efficient way to cooperate." Fan Xiaoqing, Advisor of Busan Int'l Film Festval said.
And the cooperation has ventured beyond the private entertainment businesses. In June, after nearly three years of negotiations, South Korea and China’s culture authorities drew up a pact to jointly produce movies and TV programs.
"Once the deal is signed, movies produced in each respective country will be considered locally made, and film companies will be able to operate more smoothly under protected legal benefits." Han Sang-Hee said.
The move is viewed as a signal that the Chinese government is loosening some of its control on the movie industry.
In 2012, China expanded quota of overseas movies from about 20 to 34 a year, including 3D and Imax films. But that is still below what foreign studios have been hoping for.
China’s box office revenue posted nearly over 30 percent rise in the first three quarters of this year, mostly contributed by home-produced movies.