May 20, 2024

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Women fuel the box office in China and Hollywood needs to watch out

Women fuel the box office in China and Hollywood needs to watch out

  • Women fuel China’s box office, according to a survey by Morning Consult. This marked a cultural shift in the country and a new entry point for Hollywood studios.
  • Although women represent less than half of the region’s population, they represent 52% of monthly moviegoers.
  • Hollywood has struggled to regain its footing in China in the wake of the pandemic, offering a glut of superhero and action films to Chinese audiences to moderate success.

Fans watch a movie in a cinema in Shanghai, China.

Future Publishing | Future Publishing | Getty Images

Women fuel China’s box office even though they make up a smaller percentage of the population – and Hollywood should watch out.

While women make up less than half of China’s population, they account for 52% of monthly moviegoers, according to Morning Consult, which surveyed 681 moviegoers per month from July 21-25.

Chinese women’s higher-than-expected box office spending not only shows a cultural shift, but also a new entry point for American studios. Hollywood is struggling to regain its footing in the country after the epidemic lockdowns, as China developed its domestic film industry and limited the number of foreign films allowed in theaters. Taking advantage of this new trend of moviegoers in China could be a new strategy for Hollywood.

Morning Consult found that female audiences in China are as interested in sci-fi and action films as their male counterparts are, but more interested in romantic comedies and musicals.

“I think this explains why Barbie has been so successful recently in this country, as it has been in so many other places,” said Kevin Tran, senior media and entertainment analyst at Morning Consult.

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While Warner Bros. Barbie has only raised about $35m so far in China, and Tran suggests studios could be looking to tap an underserved demographic in the market.

“The purchasing power of women in China has been increasing for several years,” Tan said. “Fewer women are getting married. So, I think there’s more independence, and I think as China continues to be a country that prioritizes traditional gender roles… there’s more time that can be devoted to leisure and things besides home or home.” Type of care responsibilities. It makes them able to do other things, like go to the movies, or just spend money on themselves in a way that they might not have been able to do before.”

Morning Consult noted that its survey indicated that 32% of Chinese women reported going to the cinema three or more times in July, compared to 27% of men.

“Given the difficulty non-domestic studios have in identifying specific cultural norms and popular culture references in China, it might make sense for American studios to invest more heavily in Chinese productions of musicals and romantic comedies as a long-term strategy,” Tran wrote in the article. his report. “These investments will be one way to ensure that studios’ rosters are balanced with the variants of the typical big-budget action films that they have traditionally relied on for global box office success.”

Of course, Tran said, Hollywood shouldn’t have to completely rewrite the rules of the game to cater to a country’s cinematic inclinations. After all, American audiences berated studios for altering or even cutting scenes from films in order to meet Chinese censorship rules.

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In order for films to be distributed and shown in China, films must be approved by regulators and can be censored if they contain content that officials consider harmful. violate its basic socialist values ​​or diminish its national image.

Many blockbusters, including Marvel’s “Black Widow”, “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings”, “Thor: Love and Thunder”, “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” and Spider-Man: No Way” from Sony. Home”, which was banned from showing in Chinese theaters.

Before the pandemic, Chinese audiences were consistently responsible for about 15% to 20% of global sales of blockbuster films, especially in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. For the recently released Marvel movie, “Guardians” of the Galaxy: Vol. 3″, ticket sales from China accounted for only 10% of the film’s total sales.

With cinemas reopening in the wake of the epidemic, Hollywood has rushed to introduce superhero and action films to Chinese audiences with moderate success. And while Disney’s “Avatar: The Way of Water” grossed more than $200 million during its theatrical release in the country, few other films have come close to that figure, or even crossed the $100 million mark.

China has resumed importing Hollywood films at pre-pandemic levels this year, but ticket sales during the first half of 2023 were down nearly 70% from the same period in 2019, according to film industry advisory group Artisan Gateway.