How China’s Communist Party Is Affecting the Worldwide Box Office
By Tess Farrand, Associate Content Editor
China’s influence on Hollywood is mind-boggling. The Communist Party shapes what global audiences see on screen.
“The Chinese Communist party is increasingly shaping what global audiences see,” said James Tager, deputy director of free expression research and policy at Pen America.
Tager and his team compiled a 94-page study as to how Hollywood censors movies so as not to dissuade the Chinese audience from watching.
“While we are all well aware of the strict controls that China’s government maintains over dissent, independent thought and creativity within its own borders, the long arm of Chinese censorship – powered by vast economic incentives – has also reached deep into Hollywood, shaping perceptions, inculcating sensitivities and reshaping the bounds of what can be shown, said and told.”
In 2019, Axios reported how Chinese censorship affects the film marketplace.
Tom Cruise’s upcoming TOP GUN: MAVERICK is the latest flick to be censored to appease the Chinese.
“Perhaps the most extreme example [of China’s censorship]was the 2018 decision to not allow Disney’s CHRISTOPHER ROBIN to be released, purportedly because Chinese President Xi Jinping’s resemblance to Winnie the Pooh had become a joke among activists who resisted the country’s Communist regime,” Aixos reported.
Attorney general William Barr summed it up this way, “Chinese government censors don’t need to say a word because Hollywood is doing their work for them.”
It’s no secret that Hollywood has always catered to the largest market for monetary gain, which should encourage Christians that their dollars at the box office do make a difference.
Movieguide® previously offered a glimpse into China’s content concerns:
Countries like China and India require their theatrical movies to eliminate graphic sexual content, explicit nudity and extreme violence. This is clearly a good thing since it protects the hearts and minds of vulnerable children who watch movies, as well as fits the biblical worldview that MOVIEGUIDE® applies in its analysis of the entertainment industry.
China also makes demands concerning the spiritual and political content of movies.
For example, Chinese authorities don’t like movies about ghosts, movies with overt evangelical content promoting Christianity, and movies that make China look bad.
Moviegoers can encourage filmmakers to create positive content free of religious censorship by supporting movies that promote family values.
While China does not fully control the global box office, it’s impact is evident. Hollywood must learn to not kowtow to a communist agenda, but create entertainment that succeeds in the box office by incorporating family and faith values into their projects.
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