It’s hard not to get carried away by Hollywood’s breathless reaction to the US-China film deal announced during Xi Jinping’s recent visit to LA and apparently struck in “down to the wire” talks with Vice President Joe Biden. The deal is variously described as a ‘trade accord’ or a ‘trade agreement’. Whatever it may be, MPAA is “celebrating” and the White House is heralding it as a “breakthrough.”
But just where is the public acknowledgement of the deal by Chinese officials?
Depending on whose account we read, we are told that the deal:
- adds 14 3-D and large format films to China’s existing quota of 20 on which box office revenue may be shared;
- increases the share of box office available on quota films from around 13% to around 25%;
- increases by an unspecified amount the license fees available to ‘independent’ films, presumably those films which are neither quota films nor official co-productions; and
- allows “other distributors, apart from China Film Group, to distribute films in China.
Call me a cynical lawyer, but I must ask whether anyone outside the Office of the US Trade Representative has actually seen the document recording the deal? (If anyone has seen that document, would they please send it to me because I am very interested in its details.) In the meantime, we are adrift in a whirlpool of contradictory and ambiguous commentary on this.
There is also a big question mark over the legal effect of the deal. Just when does all of this come into effect in China?
So my take on all this right now is that it appears to be good news, but I am reserving full judgment and analysis until there is at least some more detail.
For more on this “breakthrough,” check out the following:
- China’s Film Quota Cracked, Variety Magazine
- Huh? You Say That China Has Loosened Its Film Import Quota? ChinaFilmBiz
- More Hollywood films set for China, CNN
- Lights. Camera. But How Much More Action For Hollywood In China? China Bystander
For more on China’s film/media industry, check out the following:
- Sino-Foreign Film Co-Productions in China
- Making Films in China. You Talkin’ To Me?
- China’s Sino-Foreign Film Co-Productions. Show Me The Money.
- Protecting Hollywood Films in China Makes Sense For China.
- China Film Law Q And A.
- China Film Law Q. And A. Part II.
- China Film Law Q. and A. Part III.
- Getting Your Share From China’s Movie Box Office. Good Luck With That.
- Don’t Be A Bull In The China [Movie Production] Shop.
- China Moves to Restrict What Can Be Shown on TV (The Australian)
What are you hearing?