Magazine article Screen International

Filmart 2018 Opens at a Turbulent Time for the Chinese Film Sales Business

Magazine article Screen International

Filmart 2018 Opens at a Turbulent Time for the Chinese Film Sales Business

Article excerpt

Hong Kong sales companies are being challenged by market forces.

As Filmart gets underway, it has become clear that the Chinese film sales business is currently going through a turbulent period, buffeted by the twin forces of China’s booming box office and a declining market for foreign-language films everywhere else in the world.

Among recent changes to affect Hong Kong sales companies are Distribution Workshop’s decision to relocate its international sales business to Taipei and a changing of the guard at Emperor Motion Pictures.

At the same time, Beijing-based Huayi Brothers has established an international sales arm, now that Global Road Entertainment is no longer handing its titles, and China’s Tencent Pictures is also exploring setting up a sales division.

While it might be tempting to interpret these moves as a shift of distribution power towards Beijing, which has become the capital of the Chinese production business, the reality is more complex than that.

For sure, producers across Greater China are becoming more focused on the mainland China market - where four films grossed a combined $1.5bn over the Chinese New Year holidays - while the international market is increasingly difficult. “Only Chinese martial arts films are selling internationally, while the films that work in China are mostly comedies and romantic dramas that often don’t travel,” says Bravos Pictures chief Ricky Tse. …

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