Audiences Not to Blame

2012-03-12 09:16:09        China Daily

Chinese audiences queued up for the tickets of "Avatar."

The film agreement inked by China and the United States last month, which increases the import of US films shown in the mainland from 20 to 34 a year and raises the box share of the US side, will certainly make life more difficult for Chinese filmmakers as audiences tend to prefer Hollywood films to domestic ones.

But the claim by a famous actress, that audiences prefer Hollywood films because they lack patriotism, has no foundation.

In fact, audiences have the right to watch the movie they choose, and Chinese filmmakers would do well to reflect on why they prefer to watch Hollywood films.

Many films produced in China are actually telling Chinese stories, mostly old fables, in a Hollywood style. Chinese audiences, who are familiar with the visual effects and plots of Hollywood films, are often tired of these inept transplants.

Audiences deserve better from our filmmakers, who should make much better use of the resources available to them. Their films should endeavor to boost the development of the Chinese film industry, instead of simply their reputations and bank accounts.

The success of Hollywood is deeply rooted in generations of filmmakers' dedication to their craft over the past century. But lured by easy money and quick fame, some Chinese filmmakers try to copy the appeal and look of Hollywood films but ignore the craft.

Although technology and marketing play increasingly important roles in today's film industry, a brief glance at any list of favorite films of all time shows that the most memorable films are the ones that capture the zeitgeist of their times.

Instead of regarding domestic audiences as cash cows, Chinese filmmakers should take the audiences' preference for Hollywood as a motivation to make Chinese films better.

They will certainly make a greater contribution to the world film industry by providing global audiences with a different perspective. And, if that's not enough motivation in itself, they should remember that if they create films that audiences prefer to watch rather than Hollywood's, their reputations and bank balances will be even bigger.

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