BEIJING – Jaunt China, an industry leader in cinematic virtual reality, and the Beijing Film Academy, China’s first and foremost film school, jointly announced the formation of the Beijing Film Academy Digital Media School’s Jaunt China Cinematic VR Lab, the first VR lab and incubator of its kind in China. As part of the academic and industry partnership, Jaunt China will make available its award-winning Jaunt ONE cinematic virtual reality cameras and provide access to its suite of cloud-based workflow tools for VR production and playback. Beijing Film Academy Digital Media School faculty, students and visiting experts will partner with Jaunt China on future research, curriculum development, production projects and internships. (full article on AWN)
For the past couple decades, Western content professionals have generally displayed a patronizing attitude towards the Chinese entertainment industry and market, determined to “show the Chinese how it’s done.” I relocated to Beijing in 2008 with much the same mindset. However, the onset of the VR Era has resulted in a sea change, with foreign professionals astonished by the pace and penetration of China’s advances in virtual reality. China has truly become “The Wild Wild East” with respect to VR, the hottest battleground among global VR markets. Folks from the West who approach China with any pretensions soon find themselves… (full post on AWN)
As reported in China Daily, Warner Brothers is in talks with China Media Capital to produce & distribute Chinese movies for the China market, motivated by the mainland’s booming box office and the increasing demand from local Chinese audiences for high-quality homegrown films.
Homegrown hits such as MONSTER HUNT, which has grossed nearly $400 million USD in mainland China since its July release, are challenging the performance of Hollywood imports and are increasingly satisfying to Chinese audiences. Stan Rosen, a Chinese film expert at the University of Southern California US-China Institute, notes:
The China market is on track to surpass last year’s market by August this year and it’s going to be the biggest market in the world by about 2018-2019, so it makes sense to make Chinese films for the China market. You can’t lose.
Of course, you can lose. But the more important point is that it is now possible to win – and win BIG. Warner Brothers’ interest in Chinese films, financially motivated though it may be, is forward-thinking in a market which currently restricts foreign imports to 34 films a year while local filmmakers & audiences increasingly assert their cultural tastes. Studios that rely on an import strategy of foreign content may soon find themselves on the wrong end of the curve, even if China’s film quota restrictions are further relaxed or removed.
With Warner Brothers already in a joint venture with China Film Group, and their discussions with China Media Capital underway, they seem to have a handle on the ACCESS piece of the China puzzle. It remains to be seen whether WB’s pending Chinese film slate will achieve AFFINITY with Chinese audiences. Compelling characters, engaging stories and local resonance will be essential for success.