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Hollywood Studios Chase Chinese Audiences

Po, a character from "Kung Fu Panda 3," arrives at the world premiere at the TCL Chinese Theatre on Saturday, Jan. 16, 2016.
Po, a character from "Kung Fu Panda 3," arrives at the world premiere at the TCL Chinese Theatre on Saturday, Jan. 16, 2016.
Hollywood Studios Chase Chinese Audiences
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American filmmakers are actively luring Chinese movie fans to the cinema with more Chinese plots and characters.

The motion picture, Kung Fu Panda 3, is a prime example of Hollywood trying to attract more Chinese movie ticket buyers.

Hollywood understands that China is the second-largest movie market in the world. The country will become the biggest movie market within a year when it overtakes the United States. Last year, cinema ticket sales in China added up to $6.6 billion.

The American motion picture community has developed strategies to play a larger role in film-making and distribution in China.

Paul Dergarabedian, a senior media analyst said, “A lot of [movie] studios … in the entertainment business are trying to align themselves with China. Everyone’s trying to scramble and trying to figure out how best to partner with China because it’s so important as a movie market.”

The premiere date for Kung Fu Panda 3 was carefully selected to get more people to the cinemas. The opening date coincided with the Chinese New Year. So the animated American movie earned more than $100 million in ticket sales that day in China.

Familiar plot lines and characters are another reason for Kung Fu Panda 3’s success in China. The cast includes the voices of internationally known movie stars, like Dustin Hoffman and Jackie Chan.

“As a Chinese, it feels more familiar,” said 18-year-old Yifan Li. “I feel I can see a lot of elements that are very close to me.”

American film companies are making movie viewing more convenient for the Chinese public. Dreamworks is the film company that produced Kung Fu Panda 3. Dreamworks produced two versions of the film for domestic Chinese audiences. In America, theaters showed the film in both Mandarin and English.

Kung Fu Panda 3 went around a bit of Chinese tradition during the new year. The film was allowed to show during the holiday. Most foreign films are not allowed to show in China during the new year celebration.

The film received screen time because it was co-produced in China by Dreamwork’s Chinese partner, Shanghai’s Oriental Dreamworks.

Another Chinese-themed film will get much attention in 2016. Later this year, The Great Wall will feature American Matt Damon and Hong Kong’s Andy Lau as the main actors. It will also have a Chinese director overseeing his first English-language film.

I’m Jim Dresbach.

Shannon Van Sant reported on this story for Jim Dresbach adapted the story for Learning English. Kathleen Struck was the editor.

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Words in This Story

lure – v. to cause or persuade a person to go somewhere or to do something by offering some pleasure or gain

cinema – n. a movie theater

overtake – v. to move up to and past someone or something

distribution – n. the act of giving or delivering something to people

strategies – n. careful plans or methods for achieving a particular goal usually over a long period of time

scramble – v. to move or act quickly to do, find, or get something often before someone else does

premiere – n. the first time a film is shown

coincide – v. to happen at the same time as something else