Tuesday, December 08, 2015

CHINA's monstrous box office mythical, actually

This post is a simulacrum of itself - Google, why can't you sort out the damned Android app??? TWICE I've written (tapped ) this and twice its disappeared by switching apps or trying to navigate in the blogger app*. Not good.

Anyway... I've mentioned before the issues around the fantastical claims of China's explosive box office growth. Taking their cue from the Hollywood hegemons, who make 'biggest ever' standard marketing fare, we've seen the same approach to box office figures as to the Chinese stock market: only good, upbeat news is allowed. Make that was.

A recent US-China trade deal means that China now has an increased legal duty to ensure box office figures are accurate, and clamp down on piracy. The Chinese government finally permitted the huge 'correction' (econospeak for massive fall) in the value of the Chinese stock market recently, and with the state media reporting on suspicions that the home-grown CGI-fest Monster was exaggerating the box office returns, we're seeing the start of a similar process.

India will undoubtedly become a hype story soon enough, with equal issues over its figures, given how 'cinema' runs in the still huge rural market; listen to Chuck D and don't believe the hyp when that becomes the next meme.

The Western markets have inspired this behaviour - cinema crowds do operate on a herd/heard (word-of-mouth ...) basis, and we flock to a hit. As a recent, typically insightful Guardian box office column pointed out, the studios have been engaged in unattributed flame wars seeking to brand each other's tentpole releases as flops through social media, hoping to convince people to avoid them.

China takes box office manipulation to the twilight zone - as this article reports, the figures for Monster were inflated not just by benefitting from the period when US films are blocked each year, but also 40m 'public welfare' tickets given out to families. This often results in empty cinemas screening in the early hours, a phantom operation indeed (just how many horror intertextualities can I squeeze in from dusk 'til dawn...).

I guess the moral of the story is, don't get too wrapped up in box office this yuletide...

*The blogger app is handy but its way too easy to lose something you've worked on - don't try to switch windows to ... ironically, given the ownership ... Google something for example! A longer, wittier version of this post had appeared on the wrong blog, was shown as an earlier link-only post when I tried to navigate back to the right blog to re-post it ... and deleted entirely along the way. VERY annoying. Brings to mind Battlestar Galactica's haunting version of All Along the Watchtower: "all of this has happened before and all of this will happen again" [and thats the second time I've typed/tapped that ... this time on a Macbook now on 4% battery!]

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please ensure your posts are appropriate in tone and content! All comments are reviewed by the blog owner before being published.