As The Hollywood Reporter recently noted, Hollywood needs China (and its money) far more than China needs Hollywood. And China is beginning to restrict more and more Hollywood films from entering the Chinese market while simultaneously reducing or discontinuing their investment in Hollywood.
The Hollywood Reporter is considered to be one of the industry’s two “bibles” (Variety being the other). If they cover something, it’s because at least one studio WANTED it covered. What this indicates is PANIC in Hollywood because it all comes down to China and its money.
The Eternals may not be released in China after all. The problem is the Chinese director of the film, Chloé Zhao, has been particularly outspoken of the Chinese government. So much so that China blacked out the 2021 Oscars ceremony. As THR reports:
In the run-up to Chloé Zhao’s historic best director win for Nomadland at the 93rd Oscars, Disney began tiptoeing around potential land mines with regard to China, the director’s home country and the studio’s most important international market. “Please note in your ongoing coverage of Nomadland that Chloé Zhao is a Chinese filmmaker,” an executive for Disney-owned Searchlight emailed members of the Hollywood press on March 4. “You may accurately refer to her as Chinese or a Chinese National.”
A number of news outlets, including The New York Times, had mistakenly referred to Zhao as Asian American, but the bluntness and blanket nature of the proviso was conspicuous. As it would turn out, Disney had abundant reason to be concerned over how the provenance and perceived allegiances of its rising star director, who was also helming the studio’s forthcoming $200 million Marvel tentpole Eternals, were being portrayed to the world.
For months, the studio had been making clandestine efforts to avoid agitating the Chinese Communist Party when it came to Zhao, who was born and raised in Beijing but attended high school in London and Los Angeles and college in Massachusetts and New York. The simple fact that she now lives in Ojai, California, was certain to irk the CCP and provoke China’s notorious internet ultranationalists, whose M.O. is to aggressively scrutinize any Chinese artist who achieves significant success in the West — searching for hints of disloyalty to the motherland.
China is starting to generally ban all films with LGBTQ characters which The Eternals has been heavily marketing as part of its appeal. But China as a nation is focusing on teaching masculinity to their boys. Their government has grown concerned that Western influences are making boys “weak and timid.” So the “inclusion” of diverse characters, particularly of the alphabet constituency, along with the general wokeness of Hollywood lately, may result in them losing HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS of dollars.
Meanwhile, the other new Marvel Studios film coming out this year, aimed directly at Asian viewers may also be getting blocked. Midnight’s Edge does a pretty good breakdown of this situation here:
Disney executives must be shitting in their pants. China means a LOT of money. Does Hollywood see what’s going on? Maybe not. Here is an important quote from Aynne Kokas, the author of the book Hollywood Made in China:
“Clearly, a lot of very smart, well-connected people on both the Chinese side and U.S. side thought this collaborative vision of the film industry’s future was worthwhile enough to receive major investment. More than anything what all this wreckage underscores is just how rapid the descent in the U.S.-China relationship has been — as the result of both Xi Jinping’s policies and Donald Trump’s policies.”
I thought Donald Trump was no longer the US President? So why is China suddenly backing away from investing in Hollywood? Wouldn’t they be inclined to INCREASE their investments in the US with President Trump out of their way? Wouldn’t “Beijing Biden” make things much easier for them? Or maybe it really has nothing to do with Trump?
“We’ve gone from a tsunami to a small trickling stream,” adds Stephen Saltzman, an attorney at Paul Hastings who regularly represents Chinese studios and talent in their Hollywood dealings
What that implicitly means is No. More. Chinese. Money.
Hollywood may have screwed the pooch. They’ve gone woke, turned off over half their audience, and now they’re on the verge of completely losing one of their biggest financiers. China.
Good luck, Hollywood!