Understanding China, One Blog at a Time

An American in China

Avatar RIP in China- China Pulls the Plug on Avatar

Posted by w_thames_the_d on January 27, 2010


Move over Google, China is gunning for you Avatar. Yes, it is true, the Chinese government is ordering the movie to be pulled – article here, official China version here, other here. Unlike Google or Youtube, or Twitter, it is not due to pornography, bad language nor inciting unrest it is just plain money and to prevent from losing face (to celebrate their 60th anniversary, China produced- “The Founding of a Republic”, which made $61 million in early 2009- Avatar has almost doubled that. Caveat, all State Owned Enterprises were mandated to watch this Chinese film-thus the reason for the large numbers, and ALL of my colleagues were suggest to do so as well.)

The Chinese government has a rule where only 20 foreign movies can be shown per year, and these movies can not earn more than 50% of the revenue of all films for the year. WTF??

Just look at that statement, are their flicks so shitty that only 20 imported movies can earn as much as THEY PRODUCE IN AN ENTIRE YEAR? The answer is yes, have you ever seen the shit they produce? Unless you want to watch boring garbage from the Qin dynasty or those enthralling sagas of how China defended herself from those evil Japanese, or blatant blockbuster knockoffs (they made a Chinese version of Transformers that was laughable) — then basically they produce movies about as good as they produce milk- toxic. I am no expert, but they are ghastly. Culturally, however there is much to learn about China vis a bis their recent actions, my analysis below.

The government has said that they need to protect their movie industry, this is part of a move to do so:

-How  far removed from the realities of open market forces is this government if they think they can force citizens to view movies that are substandard- and worse yet, attempt to export those movies. They really have no idea of what free markets are all about- that people make decisions based on quality

-the Chinese government has no idea or is far removed from the realities of the world, world markets, world needs- at least in terms of products, especially those of entertainment
-wtf, protect it, isnt competition good, do they expect to get good by continually offering horseshit about some history that is not relevant to over 5 billion people
-the government said it will put more money into its domestic industry to assist it- yeah that will work, the Chinese government must learn that this is not like a bribe- throwing money at something or someone is not always the way to move forward in business
-the Chinese government wants to expand its movie industry overseas- Yeah, uh, I live here and didnt watch TV nor a movie till I got cable- dont get me wrong, Hong Kong and Taiwan haves some great shows, but here it is dismal, poor quality, poor story lines, I guess by the government controlling the media and forcing its voice, it is producing stuff that the typical consumer cant stomach- let alone international crowds.
-protect the industry- Common response by the Chinese government, aside from blaming the Japanese and Europe for land grabs and heroin addiction for example.
-by removing the movie they show how they control the masses, force them to do or not do things, as the government deems necessary
believe that by hiding their heads in the sand, throwing around cash then reappearing they will rise like the Phoenix, they dont realize that creativity must be fomented, it cannot be forced.
-in reality by cutting off the show, they are protecting local interests- all of those people hawking illegal DBD’s ( I am not being flippant here)

Really dont mean to be acerbic here, but this is typical thinking on the part of the Chinese government- state rights and interests will win out, the masses may suffer but they will accept it, China will run the movie Confucius and hope it grosses a ton (maybe fabricate numbers to prove that it did) and then all will go to bed happy. My anguish and compassion goes to the typical person here who sees the light, knows what is going on, but is stuck, I always have my home country.

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