Chinese filmmakers should rise up to the challenges resulting from the China-US agreement that will make it easier for US studios and independent filmmakers to reach the fast-growing Chinese market.
While US films are a big draw for Chinese audiences, the increased participation of US studios and independent filmmakers in the Chinese market also offers an opportunity for Chinese filmmakers to learn the advanced technologies and innovative ideas that make US films such a commercial success worldwide.
Oriental DreamWorks, a joint venture between DreamWorks Animation of the US and three media and investment companies in Shanghai, which was announced on Friday, is just a case in point. Announcing the $330 million joint venture, Jeffrey Katzenberg, head of DreamWorks Animation, said the partners are looking forward to building "a first-of-its-kind enterprise" that will produce high-quality creative content in China.
To some extent, DreamWorks' landing can be compared to the arrival of the German automaker Volkswagen in Shanghai in the 1980s. The rapid development of China's automobile industry since Volkswagen partnered with the Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation and the First Automobile Works in Changchun is testimony to the effect its presence and investment have had on the domestic industry.
Last year, China's box office revenue grew to $2.1 billion. But the three highest-grossing films were all from the US, with top-performer Transformer 3 raking in $172 million.
China has also announced that it will permit 14 premium format films, such as IMAX and 3D, to be exempt from the 20 film quota which has been in place for 10 years and that the US' share of box office revenue will increase from 13 percent to 25 percent.
As Chris Dodd, president of the Motion Picture Association of America, said, it is "tremendous news for the millions of American workers and businesses whose jobs depend on the entertainment industry".
And integrating into the world film market will also promote a stronger crackdown on film piracy, a necessary step in building a healthy film industry and market.
The US film industry continues to dominate the worldwide market, but Chinese filmmakers have the chance to learn some important commercial and creative lessons that will make their products more competitive.