Women are fueling the box office in China, Hollywood should take note

Fans watch a film in a cinema in Shanghai.

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Women are fueling China’s box office despite making up a smaller share of the population – and Hollywood should take note.

While women make up less than half of China’s population, they account for 52% of monthly moviegoers. according to Morning Consultin which 681 monthly moviegoers were surveyed between July 21st and 25th.

Chinese women’s higher-than-expected box office output shows not only a cultural shift, but also a new entry point for American studios. Hollywood has struggled to regain its footing in the country following Covid-19 pandemic shutdowns as China built up its domestic film industry and limited the number of foreign films allowed in theaters. Capitalizing on this new trend of female moviegoers in China could be a new strategy for Hollywood.

Morning Consult found that female audiences in China are just as interested in science fiction and action films as male audiences, but are disproportionately interested in romantic comedies and musicals.

“I think that speaks to why ‘Barbie’ has taken off recently in this country, as it has in many other places,” said Kevin Tran, senior media and entertainment analyst at Morning Consult.

While Warner Bros.’ So far, “Barbie” has only raised about $35 million in China. Tran suggests that studios could try to capitalize on a demographic that is underserved in the market.

“Women’s purchasing power in China has been increasing for several years,” Tran said. “Fewer women are getting married. So I think there’s just more independence, and since China is still a country that has prioritized traditional gender roles, there’s more time for leisure and things other than domestic or domestic care responsibilities. … So that they can do other things, like go to the movies or just spend money on themselves, in ways that maybe they couldn’t before.”

Morning Consult noted that its survey found that 32% of Chinese women said they would go to the cinema three or more times in July, compared to 27% of men.

“Given the difficulties foreign studios face in establishing specific cultural norms and pop culture references in China, it may make sense for U.S. studios to invest more heavily in Chinese productions of musicals and romantic comedies as a longer-term strategy invest,” Tran wrote in his report. “These investments would be a way to ensure that studios’ plans are balanced with genres beyond the typical big-budget action blockbusters that they have traditionally relied on for global box office success.”

Tran said Hollywood shouldn’t completely rewrite its script to suit a country’s cinematic inclinations. Finally, American audiences have reprimanded studios for altering or even cutting scenes from films to comply with Chinese censorship rules.

In order for films to be distributed and shown in China, they must be approved by regulators and could be censored if they contain content authorities deem fit violates its basic socialist values ​​or affects its nationalist image.

Several major blockbusters, including Marvel’s “Black Widow,” “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” “Thor: Love and Thunder,” “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” and Sony’s “Spider-Man: No Way.” . Home” were banned from Chinese cinemas.

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Before the pandemic, Chinese audiences consistently accounted for between 15 and 20% of global sales of major blockbusters, particularly in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. For the most recently released Marvel film, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, ticket sales from China only accounted for 10% of the film’s total revenue.

As cinemas reopened amid the pandemic, Hollywood was quick to offer superhero and action films to Chinese audiences, with limited success. While Disney’s “Avatar: The Way of Water” grossed more than $200 million in the country during its theatrical run, with few others coming close to that figure or even breaking the $100 million mark.

China has resumed imports of Hollywood films this year at pre-pandemic levels, but ticket sales in the first half of 2023 fell nearly 70% compared to the same period in 2019, according to film industry consultancy group Artisan Gateway.

https://www.cnbc.com/2023/09/05/women-are-fueling-the-box-office-in-china-hollywood-should-take-note.html Women are fueling the box office in China, Hollywood should take note


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