LAS VEGAS – This year’s CinemaCon, the gathering of theater owners from around the world, kicked off on Monday with International Day, which featured a panel discussion on the growing market in China. As of 2012, China has beaten out Japan as the second largest film market in the world, with the U.S. in the lead. Despite they’re new number 2 spot in the world cinema, China still faces immense challenges in terms of its relationship with Hollywood. China is notorious for its Government censorship, which extends to Hollywood or otherwise foreign films. Many Hollywood blockbusters have gone under the knife in order to get a release in China. Films like Skyfall have seen tremendous success after omitting certain scenes from their original domestic releases.
Amongst the panel speakers was Chris Dodd, chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America, who spoke of the need for China to have an “open market” and “lift those quotas.” The “quotas” he referred to are China’s yearly allowance of foreign films to be screened within the country. CEO of Village Roadshow Entertainment Group Asia, Ellen Eliasoph, was also present as a panel speaker and advocated the use of social media to understand the minds of Chinese moviegoers. She went on to explain how social media is a “key way to reach the audience throughout (a film’s) life cycle,” and “it’s the most direct way to communicate with consumers in China.”
While the discussion mainly focused on Hollywood/China relations, one topic that was absent from the event was the repackage, release, and almost immediate removal of “Django Unchained” from Chinese theaters. Tarantino himself was very cooperative in the reedit of his award winning film, but that didn’t stop theater owners to abruptly withdraw the film from their screens. Very little is known as to why the film was pulled so quickly, nor does anyone know if it was by request of the government or a move by the cinema owners themselves. CinemaCon will run until April 18th, so speakers will have until then to address the issue.