China Film Bureau Boss Urges Local Industry to ‘Prepare for War With Hollywood’
Beijing, June 27th (Hollywood Reporter)

The powerful government regulator urged theater owners to lessen the screen time for “Transformers: Age of Extinction” when it comes out next month, to benefit local productions.

China Film Bureau chief Zhang Hongsen said the country’s film business is at war with Hollywood and needs to dramatically up its game if it is to survive when the quota for foreign film imports is raised in four years’ time.

“This is the year when the battle between Hollywood and China really begins. Chinese films are encountering serious challenges and 2014 is a crucial year to decide who the winner will be,” Zhang, a director at the powerful regulator, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT), told a forum on the domestic film industry.

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Source: Hollywood Reporter

China Unveils Tax Breaks, Funding to Boost Local Film Industry
Beijing, June 19th (Hollywood Reporter)

The policy document from major ministries is aimed at making the film business in China more competitive.

The Chinese government has unveiled a major policy document from several ministries designed to boost the film industry, with tax incentives and a fund to support certain state-approved movies.

The measures are aimed at “enhancing the overall strength and competitiveness of Chinese films,” the finance ministry said in a statement on its website.

The funds will be aimed at developing the film industry to promote high-tech production. A fund will allocate $16 million (100 million yuan) every year to support between five and 10 films with “influential themes.” It will also finance “competitive films,” support Chinese films overseas and offer assistance for more professional movie website design.

The proposed tax incentives could have a major impact locally. A film company’s income from copyright transfer, film distribution and screenings in villages and rural areas will be exempt from tax. There will also be tax exemptions for distribution in central and western China, where much of the country’s rapid cinema building is underway.

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Source: Hollywood Reporter

As Movie Market Booms, China Ups Its Game Against Fraud
Cannes, June 2nd (WSJ)
As China’s film market booms, the country’s regulator is getting serious about cracking down on box-office fraud.

Eight cinemas nationwide were suspended from screening and deprived from receiving government subsidies last week by the China Film Producers’ Association and China Film Distribution and Exhibition Association, two semi-official organizations, for falsifying reported ticket admissions.

The regulators gave similar punishment to another 15 local theaters in February for manipulating reported box-office data, after the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, which is in charge of these two organizations, released a document in January calling to address the fraud issue by upgrading the online ticket buying system and enhanced monitoring.

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Source: WSJ

Chinese Regulators Escalate Crackdown on Box Office Fraud
Cannes, May 27th (Hollywood Reporter)

Industry experts believe that as much as 10 percent of Hollywood’s gross box office in China last year may have been lost to illegal skimming by cinemas.

Chinese regulators have punished another seven cinemas for box office fraud, banning them from screening new movies after they were found to have been cheating on box office figures, industry organizations said.

The cinemas were found to have used a “dual software system” to sell film tickets without registering the real box office gains to a uniform system, according to a statement issued by the China Film Producers’ Association and the China Film Distribution and Exhibition Association, carried by the Xinhua news agency.

Another cinema was found to have reported falsified box office figures, and three others were punished for screening unlicensed movies.

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Source: Hollywood Reporter

Cannes: Big Projects, Bigger Government Help China’s Animation Industry Advance
Cannes, May 14th (Hollywood Reporter)

A surge in Chinese animation projects will soon come to fruition and industryites are hailing a renaissance in quality.

China has launched a major initiative to boost the troubled animation sector, and the world’s second biggest film market is poised for a boom period centered on major projects.

The State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT) is pushing the sector hard, with a designated China animation booth at the market in Cannes and there are local animation bigwigs patrolling the Croisette.

“The Chinese government is heavily promoting the growth of cultural industries, especially animation. In the past they’ve been concentrated on developing industrial zones, not really creative,” said Gary Zhang, who is co-producing a $40-million animated 3D project, Kong, with Korean filmmaker JJ Kim.

“Now they are staying away from that and they want to have more authentic, real effort into the creative industry,” said Zhang.

With Kong, Aquamen – thus named as both Zhang and Kim are Aquarians in the Chinese Zodiac — is looking to energize the Asian animation sector.

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Source: Hollywood Reporter

China Film Import Quota Will Open Up in 2017, Says Top Local Producer
Beijing, April 16th (Hollywood Reporter)

Hollywood has long pushed for free trade in the booming Chinese film market, and producer and CCTV executive Lu Hongshi says it’s just a matter of time.

China’s quota system restricting foreign movie imports to 34 titles a year on a revenue sharing basis will open up further in 2017-2018, a senior producer and industry adviser said, emphasizing that the country’s filmmakers need to be ready to face the challenge of greater Hollywood competition.

“The China import quota share will open up in 2017-2018. Chinese filmmakers should be ready for that,” Lu Hongshi, vp of the China Movie Channel CCTV-6, told a panel at the Beijing International Film Festival on Wednesday.

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Source: Hollywood Reporter

MPAA’s Chris Dodd: China Will Give More Access to Hollywood Movies
Beijing, April 18th (Hollywood Reporter)

The exec believes the country will expand the quota of 34 films that can be imported on a revenue share basis.

Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) president Christopher Dodd is confident that China’s quota system restricting foreign movie imports to 34 titles a year will be lifted in coming years as Beijing honors its regulatory responsibilities.

The world’s second largest film market signed a memorandum of understanding agreement on its current quota system with the World Trade Organization in 2012, valid for five years. This means the second round of negotiations will start in February 2017.

Dodd said he was hopeful that a deal on expanding the quota of films on a revenue share basis would be reached by then.

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Source: Hollywood Reporter

China’s Foreign Movie Quota Set to Expand — For Arthouse Films
Hong Kong, April 11th (Hollywood Reporter)

If you’re paying attention to the rapid changes in China’s booming film industry — and you should be, considering its box office hit $1.08 billion in the first quarter, more than the total for the entire year of 2009 — the past few weeks have seen dizzying activity. What it means for Hollywood is complicated:

While it’s not official, insiders tell THR that the rumors are true: The annual limit on imported films — now at 34 — will be raised to 44. The catch? The new guidelines likely will open the market only to art-house-style releases. It’s a savvy move because “prestige” pics normally don’t take a bite out of China’s share of the box office. The country’s ruling party has made homegrown hits a priority, and it shows: Of the $3.6 billion in grosses in 2013, $2.12 billion, or 59 percent, came from domestic films.

Still, more access to foreign films means more opportunities for those all-important Hollywood-China partnerships. Just don’t expect Nebraska to pack them in at the Beijing multiplex.

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Source: Hollywood Reporter

China’s Censors Clamp Down on Booming Internet Video Sector
Beijing, March 20th (Hollywood Reporter)

The new rules will require censorship approval for all streaming video, which could dampen recent growth of Hollywood content sales to the country’s Internet giants.

China’s top industry watchdog has introduced a policy of “censor first, broadcast later” for local Internet companies streaming TV shows and movies, which could mean tighter control over online distribution of Hollywood content in China.

From now on, online companies will have to employ government-approved censors to vet content and obtain a censorship license, then monitor content before it is broadcast, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT) said in a statement on its website.

Online companies like Sohu, Youku Tudou and Baidu have been showing TV shows such as House of Cards and Modern Family after doing their own internal censorship. Sales to such sites had been viewed as a promising, and potentially very lucrative, new distribution channel for Hollywood in the country.

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Source: Hollywood Reporter

China to Decentralize Censorship Process for Local Films
Beijing, March 7th (Hollywood Reporter)

Provincial film bureaus will be given authority to independently review movies, part of a plan to streamline the lengthy approval process.

China’s top film regulator is planning to decentralize the censorship process for local movies, granting bureaus in the provinces the power to examine films, as part of an effort to streamline the approvals process.

As it stands, filmmakers face lengthy waiting periods for approval of their movies from the Film Bureau in Beijing, which is part of the official watchdog, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT).

Hong Kong actor/director Jackie Chan and leading mainland Chinese director Feng Xiaogang made passionate pleas this week for less censorship of their films in China at a high-level Communist Party meeting in Beijing.

The move is due to happen in April and in theory it means that local films will get to cinemas more quickly. What is not clear is whether the change will mean it is easier for local directors to get controversial content past censors.

The censorship of imported Hollywood films, and co-productions with international firms, will remain under the control of the central Film Bureau in Beijing.

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Source: Hollywood Reporter

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