The number of movie screens in China has been growing at a crazy pace. From 2007 to now the number of movie screens has doubled. Currently there are 6200 screens in China and this number is expected to increase by 100% by 2015. The developers of these movie theaters are preparing the Chinese consumer for a 5 star movie watching experience like that one in the United States.
Although many changes will need to happen before the Chinese movie market for it to become as prosperous as the one in the United States, the growth in both the number of new screens and the number of poeple interested in watching movies can’t be disregarded. What does this growing interest mean for the film industry?
Right now Chinese are mostly enjoying movies which are targeted for Western audiences which are dominated by characters developed in the Unites States. At this point there is a significant amount of interest from the Chinese for these types of films, however at some point this interest will be saturated and the Chinese audience might start developing a taste for seeing stories developed based on the Chinese folklore.
Can Hollywood ignore the market in a country with over 1 billion in population? Absolutely not. As the Chinese audience gets more accustomed to watching movies in the theatres and the Chinese government loosens up the restrictions on the number of foreign films that can be shown in China, I expect one of the Hollywood studios to produce a movie targeted directly at the Chinese movie watching audience. Unlike India, China does not appear to have a strong tradition of movie making which minimizes the competition for one of the American studios. Producing a movie targeted for a Chinese audience should not be cost prohibitive as the Chinese actors will not be demanding high salaries and it should be fairly inexpensive to film in China. I think the only thing that is lacking right now if the scripts that would appeal to strictly Chinese movie watchers.
In this global economy we see companies trying different strategies to reach global audience. The two seen most commonly are: standardization and adaptation. Up until this point the film industry for the most part has been relying on the standardization strategy. The recent trends in China, lead me to believe that this is going to change and we will start seeing changes as to how movies are produced and marketed as Hollywood is trying to capture the large piece of moviegoer pie around the globe. I expect that within the next decade we will see a film produced and marketed directly for Chinese audience.