In many ways, America won the 20th century by making movies that created a demand for all things American–our lifestyle, our values, our possessions and democracy itself. The impact of film was not lost on China which wants to dominate the 21st century. In fact they went to school on our film industry back in 2008 and have been building their own in order to inculcate Chinese values with the intent of bringing pride to their own people and exporting their politics and values to others around the globe. While we have not seen much of their output in the US yet, they have become major customers of our product–to a point. It must conform to standards and sensitivities in their increasingly controlled society. And American film companies have grown increasingly reliant on their huge market of moviegoers to increase profits or determine whether a film is worth the budget it may require in the first place. China’s power to affect Hollywood decisions is increasingly worrisome given the fact that our values as political entities are at odds. Examples of their heavy hand have altered some of our films already in ways you may never have considered. We discuss this fascinating topic with Erich Schwartzel, author of ‘Red Carpet: Hollywood, China and the Global Battle for Cultural Supremacy’.
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