Podcast: Hollywood Made in China

Podcast: Hollywood Made in China

British actress Kate Beckinsale shakes hands with fans during a red carpet event promoting Wanda Group’s Oriental Movie Metropolis project in Qingdao, Shandong province, on September 22, 2013. Jason Lee/Reuters
from Asia Unbound

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On this week’s Asia Unbound podcast, Aynne Kokas, assistant professor of media studies at the University of Virginia and author of the penetrating Hollywood Made in China, explores what happens when two titans—Hollywood and the Chinese film industry—collide on the global stage. As Kokas describes it, Hollywood studios are eager to profit from the growing Chinese film market, which is soon to be the world’s largest. At the same time, they struggle to comply with restrictions on the number and content of imported films. The Chinese government blocked last year’s Ghostbusters remake from theaters, for example, in part because of “superstitious” content. Chinese filmmakers also face their own tradeoffs between producing blockbusters with international appeal and those that “tell Chinese stories,” as encouraged by President Xi Jinping. Kokas also introduces the escalating concerns some U.S. policymakers have raised over Chinese acquisitions of major Hollywood studios, such as Dalian Wanda’s $3.5 billion purchase of Legendary Entertainment. Though Washington can review and reject investments based on national security concerns, the allure of Chinese capital and access to the Chinese market is hard for Hollywood to ignore. To hear more of Kokas’s fascinating insights about the soft power dynamics between the U.S. and Chinese entertainment industries, listen to our conversation above.


Listen to the podcast on SoundCloud »

Elizabeth C. Economy

C. V. Starr Senior Fellow and Director for Asia Studies